Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy predict parent-reported difficult temperament in infancy

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2013 Apr;34(3):174-80. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31827d5761.


Objective: Recent research has linked hypertensive diseases of pregnancy with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood and adulthood. This study aimed to establish whether such effects are observed in infancy.

Methods: This was a prospective pregnancy cohort study of 2,785 pregnancies with complete data on hypertensive diseases of pregnancy. Mothers completed a validated Australian adaptation of the Toddler Temperament Scale when the children were 1 year of age (n = 2,384). Algorithms were used to classify children as difficult, slow to warm up, intermediate high, intermediate low, or easy, on the basis of their temperament scores. We then grouped difficult and intermediate-high infants together and compared them with easy, intermediate-low, and slow-to-warm-up infants. We used a multivariable logistic regression model and adjusted for known biomedical, sociodemographic, and psychological factors from the pre- and postnatal period that may influence child behavioral development.

Results: After adjusting for confounders, mothers who were diagnosed with gestational hypertension (odds ratio [OR], 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.75) or preeclampsia (OR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.18-4.23) were more likely to report that their infants were in the difficult or intermediate-high classifications in the first year of life compared with infants born to mothers without gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.

Conclusion: These data suggest that the link between maternal hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and child behavioral development begins in the first year of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Development
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / psychology
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychology, Child
  • Temperament*
  • Young Adult