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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e86283. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086283. eCollection 2014.

Prenatal adversities and Latino children's autonomic nervous system reactivity trajectories from 6 months to 5 years of age.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
2
School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
3
University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Berkeley, California, United States of America.
4
Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), Berkeley, California, United States of America.
5
UCSF Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
6
CERCH, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine whether mothers' adversities experienced during early pregnancy are associated with offspring's autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity trajectories from 6 months to 5 years of age. This cohort study of primarily Latino families included maternal interviews at 13-14 weeks gestation about their experience of a range of adversities: father's absence, general social support, poverty level, and household density. ANS measures of heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (parasympathetic nervous system) and preejection period (sympathetic nervous system) were collected during resting and challenging conditions on children at 6 months and 1, 3.5 and 5 years of age. Reactivity measures were calculated as the mean of the responses to challenging conditions minus a resting condition. Fixed effects models were conducted for the 212 children with two or more timepoints of ANS measures. Interactions between maternal prenatal adversity levels and child age at time of ANS protocol were included in the models, allowing the calculation of separate trajectories or slopes for each level of adversity. Results showed no significant relations between mothers' prenatal socioeconomic or social support adversity and offspring's parasympathetic nervous system trajectories, but there was a statistically significant relationship between social support adversity and offspring's heart rate trajectories (p<.05) and a borderline significant relationship between socioeconomic adversity and offspring's sympathetic nervous system trajectories (p = .05). Children whose mothers experienced one, not two, social support adversity had the smallest increases in heart rate reactivity compared to children whose mothers experienced no adversity. The children whose mothers experienced no social support and no socioeconomic adversity had the largest increases in heart rate and preejection period respectively from 6 months to 5 years showing the most plasticity. Mothers' prenatal adverse experiences may program their children's physiologic trajectory to dampen their heart rate or sympathetic responsivity to challenging conditions.

PMID:
24466003
PMCID:
PMC3897676
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0086283
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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