Maternal hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and mortality in offspring from birth to young adulthood: national population based cohort study

BMJ. 2022 Oct 19:379:e072157. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2022-072157.


Objective: To examine the association of maternal hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (HDP) with overall and cause specific mortality in offspring from birth to young adulthood.

Design: Nationwide population based cohort study.

Setting: Danish national health registers.

Participants: All 2 437 718 individuals live born in Denmark, 1978-2018, with follow-up from date of birth until date of death, emigration, or 31 December 2018, whichever came first.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was all cause mortality. Secondary outcomes were 13 specific causes of death in offspring from birth to young adulthood (age 41 years). Cox regression was used to assess the association, taking into consideration several potential confounders. The role of timing of onset and severity of pre-eclampsia, maternal history of diabetes, and maternal education were also studied.

Results: 102 095 mothers had HDP: 67 683 with pre-eclampsia, 679 with eclampsia, and 33 733 with hypertension. During follow-up to 41 years (median 19.4 (interquartile range 9.7-28.7) years), deaths occurred in 781 (58.94 per 100 000 person years) offspring born to mothers with pre-eclampsia, 17 (133.73 per 100 000 person years) born to mothers with eclampsia, 223 (44.38 per 100 000 person years) born to mothers with hypertension, and 19 119 (41.99 per 100 000 person years) born to mothers with no HDP. The difference in cumulative incidence in overall mortality between cohorts exposed and unexposed to maternal HDP was 0.37% (95% confidence interval 0.11% to 0.64%), and the population attributable fraction for maternal HDP was estimated as 1.09% (95% confidence interval 0.77% to 1.41%). Maternal HDP was associated with a 26% (hazard ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.18 to 1.34) higher risk of all cause mortality in offspring. The corresponding estimates for maternal pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, and hypertension were 1.29 (1.20 to 1.38), 2.88 (1.79 to 4.63), and 1.12 (0.98 to 1.28). Increased risks were also observed for several cause specific mortalities, such as deaths from conditions originating in the perinatal period (2.04, 1.81 to 2.30), cardiovascular diseases (1.52, 1.08 to 2.13), digestive system diseases (2.09, 1.27 to 3.43), and endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (1.56, 1.08 to 2.27). The increased risks were more pronounced among offspring of mothers with early onset and severe pre-eclampsia (6.06, 5.35 to 6.86) or with both HDP and diabetes history (1.57, 1.16 to 2.14) or HDP and low education level (1.49, 1.34 to 1.66).

Conclusion: Maternal HDP, particularly eclampsia and severe pre-eclampsia, is associated with increased risks of overall mortality and various cause specific mortalities in offspring from birth to young adulthood.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced* / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult