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Early Childhood Adversity and Pregnancy Outcomes

Abstract

Objectives To examine the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and pregnancy outcomes; to explore mediators of this association including psychiatric illness and health habits. Methods Exposure to ACEs was determined by the Early Trauma Inventory Self Report Short Form; psychiatric diagnoses were generated by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview administered in a cohort of 2303 pregnant women. Linear regression and structural equation modeling bootstrapping approaches tested for multiple mediators. Results Each additional ACE decreased birth weight by 16.33 g and decreased gestational age by 0.063. Smoking was the strongest mediator of the effect on gestational age. Conclusions ACEs have an enduring effect on maternal reproductive health, as manifested by mothers’ delivery of offspring that were of reduced birth weight and shorter gestational age.

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Acknowledgments

Author received Grants K12 DA031050 (Smith) and R01 HD045735 (Yonkers) from the National Institute of Health.

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Correspondence to Megan V. Smith.

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Conflict of interest

Dr. Yonkers has the following conflicts to disclose: she has received study medication from Pfizer for an NIMH trial and has received royalties from Up to Date. All other investigators do not have any conflicts of interest.

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Smith, M.V., Gotman, N. & Yonkers, K.A. Early Childhood Adversity and Pregnancy Outcomes. Matern Child Health J 20, 790–798 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-015-1909-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-015-1909-5

Keywords

  • Maternal mental health
  • Trauma
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Smoking