According to a recent study, children who have gestational weight gain (GWG) outside of the recommended range are more likely to suffer from neurodevelopmental issues such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual impairment (ID), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (ADHD). Researchers at the Stockholm Youth Cohort looked at the correlations between the risk of NDDs in offspring and total gestational weight (GWG) adjusted for gestational age and the rate of GWG in the second and third trimesters.
The Stockholm Youth Cohort’s antenatal care records for 57,822 children delivered to 53,516 women between 2007 and 2010 had information on maternal weight. Children were monitored from age two until December 31, 2016. The researchers discovered that the most significant factor raising the risk of ADHD and ID in kids was moderate weight gain in the second trimester, followed by rapid weight gain in the third trimester.
In addition, the study discovered a J-shaped relationship between total GWG and offspring risk of NDDs, with higher total GWG associated with a 19% increased risk of any NDD and lower total GWG associated with a 12% increased risk of any NDDs, in comparison to the reference. According to the study, the fetal brain develops in stages, suggesting that exposure time may affect the brain’s vulnerability. Therefore, while estimating the risk of NDDs in offspring, it is crucial to consider not only the gestational age standardized total GWG but also the rate of GWG in the second and third trimesters.
Using limited cubic splines with three knots, the study accommodated nonlinear interactions, clustered on maternal identifying numbers, and employed Cox regression models. RGWG (kg/week) was regarded as a continuous variable in the second and third trimesters. The US Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2009 recommendations for ideal GWG were also used to classify RGWG.
During a median follow-up of 5.4 years, 2205 kids (3.8%) had NDDs identified, among whom 1119 (1.9%) had ASD, 1353 (2.3%) had ADHD, and 270 (0.5%) had ID. The study has some limitations, such as the noticeably short follow-up for the outcomes and the relatively few years for which complete GWG data were available, which limit the study’s ability to find connections and misclassify children who obtain an NDD diagnosis later in childhood.
The researchers recommend that medical professionals keep an eye on pregnant patients’ gestational weight gains, offer them advice on how to do so, and support them in doing so. The findings of this study are consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that maternal health throughout pregnancy has a significant bearing on the fetus’s health.
In conclusion, the timing of maternal weight growth during pregnancy affected the link between that weight gain and the risk of NDDs in the offspring. The slow second-trimester weight rise and the quick third-trimester weight gain were associated with the highest risks. To design interventions to support healthy weight increase in pregnant women, more study is required to explore the mechanisms underlying these connections and to understand the associations themselves.