Behaviour link to pre-eclampsia

It is the first attempt to gauge the effect of maternal gestational hypertension in such young children and follows previous research linking pre-eclampsia with behavioural problems in children at primary school age.

Data from nearly 2400 children in the WA Raine pregnancy cohort study showed a significant linear trend linking increasing severity of gestational hypertension with increasingly difficult temperament as reported by the parent.

Mothers diagnosed with gestational hypertension were 36% more likely to report their child had temperament problems in infancy, and those with pre-eclampsia had twice the risk.

This backed the hypothesis that an intrauterine mechanism linked hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and child behavioural development, the authors said.

Increased maternal cortisol, associated with pre-eclampsia, may affect development of the fetal stress response system, biologically programming a child’s later