Impact of maternal mental health problems on perinatal outcomes for the infant

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Mounting evidence suggests that mental health problems in pregnant women may negatively affect the intra- and extrauterine health and development of the child. This is especially of concern as the prevalence of mental health problems in pregnant women is high and believed to be increasing. We set out to quantify the effect of maternal mental health status on the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes for the infant.We undertook a nationwide register-based cohort study including children born alive in Denmark between 2000 and 2016. The exposed cohort was children born to mothers with mental health problems in the two years prior to childbirth that had been cared for in primary care settings only (Group 1, minor problems, n = 71 759) or had required psychiatric intervention (Group 2, moderate-severe problems, n = 41 099). All non-exposed children served as comparison group (n = 908 268). We calculated risk ratios (RRs) with 95\CI) for each perinatal outcome of interest.Infants in Group 1 as well as Group 2 were at higher risk of neonatal death than infants born to unaffected mothers, although for Group 2 the trend was non-significant (Group 1: adjusted RR (aRR) 1.34, 95\.17-1.52; Group 2: aRR 1.11, 95\.94-1.32). Both exposure groups were furthermore at significantly increased risk of 5-minute Apgar scores \lt;7 (Group 1: aRR 1.27, 95\.17-1.37; Group 2: aRR 1.52, 95\.94-1.32) and \lt;4 (Group 1: aRR 1.26, 95\.10-1.44; Group 2: aRR 1.28, 95\.08-1.52) and of hospital admission in the neonatal period (Group 1: aRR 1.22, 95\.19-1.24; Group 2: 1.29, 95\.26-1.32), paralleled by a significantly higher risk of preterm birth and several neonatal morbidities.Infants born to mothers with moderate-severe as well as minor mental health problems were at increased risk of multiple adverse perinatal outcomes, thus calling for effective preventive strategies to improve outcomes in both groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSupplement_5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Event16th World Congress on Public Health 2020 : Public health for the future of humanity: analysis, advocacy and action - Virtual
Duration: 12 Oct 202016 Oct 2020
Conference number: 16


Conference16th World Congress on Public Health 2020
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