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Ann Epidemiol. 2006 Jun;16(6):448-54. Epub 2005 Sep 22.

Maternal health in pregnancy and intellectual disability in the offspring: a population-based study.

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  • 1Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, West Perth, Australia.



The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between common maternal conditions and intellectual disability (ID) of unknown cause in the offspring.


Information about the maternal health of children with and without ID was obtained by using record linkage. For mothers with specific medical conditions, proportions of children with mild to moderate ID, severe ID, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with ID were compared with those who did not have ID.


There was an increased risk for mild to moderate ID in children of mothers with asthma (odds ratio [OR], 1.52; confidence interval [CI], 1.26-1.83]), diabetes (OR, 1.69; CI, 1.26-2.27), a renal or urinary condition (OR, 2.09; CI, 1.39-3.14), and epilepsy (OR, 3.53; CI, 2.56-4.84). ASD risk was increased for children of women with diabetes (OR, 2.89; CI, 1.28-6.51) and epilepsy (OR, 4.57; CI, 1.69-12.31). For anemia (n = 1101), there was an increased risk for severe ID (OR, 5.26; CI, 2.16-12.80).


The increased risk for ID in offspring of mothers with such conditions as asthma and diabetes is particularly important for disadvantaged or ethnic populations, for whom these conditions are more prevalent and may be less well managed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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