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Acta Paediatr. 2006 Jun;95(6):720-5.

Health before and after adoption from Eastern Europe.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden.



A population-based study of pre-adoption, arrival and post-adoption health.


To report prenatal and postnatal background factors, morbidity, growth and development in adoptees from Eastern Europe.


All 99 children born in Eastern Europe between 1990 and 1995 and adopted to western Sweden during 1993-1997 were invited to participate in the study. Altogether, 76 (77%) participated. Medical records from the birth countries, from the examination at arrival and from medical reports made during a mean post-adoption period of 5 years were evaluated.


Low birth weight (< or = 2500 g) occurred in 48%. Congenital malformations were found in 22%. The biological mothers of 33% of the children had been considered alcoholics, and 16% of the children's mothers had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disability. A high incidence of infectious diseases, neurodevelopment disorders and growth retardation had been noted during the pre-adoption period. Upon arrival in Sweden 75% were diagnosed with a medical condition, most often an infection. After a 5-year post-adoption period, small head circumference was associated with alcohol exposure during pregnancy and 46% had at least one neurodevelopment or behavioural disorder.


Adverse prenatal and perinatal factors, congenital malformations and post-adoption neurodevelopment disorders were common. Adoptees and adopters have complex needs for health support and information.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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