Mother’s high blood pressure may lead to lower IQ in children
Children born to mothers who had high blood pressure while pregnant may be more likely to have a lower IQ later in life, according to new research.
The findings resulted from a research project designed to look into what causes aging-related disorders and lower cognitive function in low birth weight newborns. Environmental factors during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, and a risk factor of hypertension in women is low birth weight newborns, researchers say.
High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to a condition known as pre-eclampsia, which can be life threatening to both mother and her unborn child. The only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery. And, if it is too early in pregnancy, preterm birth may cause low birth weight.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland, involved the analyzing of medical records from 398 Finish mothers and their sons. The sons were born between 1934 and 1944, and followed into adulthood. Each man involved in the study was given two cognitive tests, which measured language skills, math and spatial relationships. The first test was conducted when the men were in their 20s. The second test was given when the men were around the age of 68.
Researchers also looked at each man’s results in relation to his mother’s blood pressure. The findings showed that men whose mothers had high blood pressure while pregnant scored 4.36 points lower on the cognitive test in older age than those whose mothers had normal blood pressure. They also showed a greater decline in cognition.
Hypertension during pregnancy is the most common medical problem encountered during pregnancy. Women who are more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy include those who have hypertension prior to becoming pregnant, previous gestational hypertension, obesity, pregnancy under the age of 20 or older than 40, those carrying more than one baby, and women with other medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma.
A recent study also showed that women who take a type of antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy are at greater risk for developing high blood pressure. The drugs can also increase a woman’s risk of delivering a baby with birth defects.
Source: Fox News