High blood pressure in pregnancy lowers child IQ

(16 Posts)

Interesting piece today regarding links between hypertension in pregnancy and its long term impact on child IQ (and rate of decline in IQ with age) - see:

BBC Health News

Bit depressing for a mum like me who had pre-eclampsia with all three of her children sad (particularly bad with no. 1 who was delivered at 30 weeks as a result). I just hope that "intervention" in terms of good educational support etc. can help overcome some of these issues. (DS - DC1 - has recently been diagnosed with specific learning difficulties that are thought to be linked to his premature birth/low birth weight - perhaps my high BP?).

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Oct-12 10:19:46

As there is no established cause of hypertension or pre-eclampsia and as it can't therefore be prevented yet, it would be silly to blame yourself for anything that subsequently happened.

mollymole Thu 04-Oct-12 10:24:32

Well in my case and relating to my son this is total bullshit. I was hospitalised with pre-eclampsia before the birth of my son. He is a very high achiever. Brilliant GCSE's and A Levels. BSc a first, MSc a distinction and currently taking a 2nd Masters.

mollymole I am loving your story smile Thank you! I think my DCs are bright but of course I'm biased - even with DS's issues he has great long term memory, very good vocabulary and is naturally curious, all of which I hope will offset his difficulties and in the long-term keep as many doors open as possible career/life wise. He's only 7 so I know all of this is hard to predict. Studies like this (along with the one linking pre-eclampsia with a child's likelihood of having a stroke or cardiovascular disease as an adult) do play on my mind though. Not that I can do much about it now!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Oct-12 10:44:44

There's nothing you can do about and never was. That's the trouble with all these statistic-based 'studies' that point out links between things you can't change and future problems that may not actually happen. It's usually just a link.... a correlation... rather than one thing directly causing the other.

gazzalw Thu 04-Oct-12 10:50:07

Mollymole maybe your son would have been even brighter had you not had pre-eclampsia?

TittyWhistles Thu 04-Oct-12 10:54:53

But if the babies then are provided with love and the enjoyment of learning is given them, along with nutritious food and good health, and then a good education, silly studies like this, which only serve to make Mothers feel even more guilty about something hat is out of heir control are completely redundant.

Here here cogito - correlation definitely does not determine cause and effect.
And I agree (the optimistic part of me anyhow!) titty that surely experiences out of the womb can "offset" - or at least minimise the impact of- any of the poor cards that may have been dealt during the pre/antenatal stage of life. The eternal maternal guilt....

losingtrust Thu 04-Oct-12 13:00:15

Thanks JJF, feel depressed too now. However, my sister was a higher achiever than me and DM had high blood pressure with her and not me. I must have got the chill pill!

Was panicking, I had high blood pressure so DD was induced at over 42 weeks. I suppose she was already 'made' by then so it doesn't affect me. I think these news stories are interesting and guilt inducing. Can you really tot up all these little increments and make a higher IQ baby? So, maternal age 2 points, BF 2 points, no high BP, 2 points, books in the house, 2 points. Of course you can't. It's really just all correlation and therefore pretty meaningless.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Thu 04-Oct-12 17:01:02

The men in this study were born 70/80 years ago. I should imagine pre-natal care has moved on considerably since then and if there is a link between high maternal BP and lower IQ, a lot can now be done to reduce adverse affects.

BobbiThePanda Thu 04-Oct-12 18:58:56

Bollocks. Please don't feel bad if you have/had high BP during pregnancy!
My mother had high BP and pre-eclampsia with me. She was so ill that very nearly died (this was back in the early 1960's). My IQ was Mensa tested about 30 years ago and it was 151 - this was the Cattell test. I don't know which test they use now.
That said I am an underachiever. High IQ doesn't automatically make you a motivated and driven individual.

aurynne Thu 04-Oct-12 20:33:39

I feel all this obsession about having the baby with the highest IQ ridiculous... have you guys ever checked whether having a higher IQ actually makes you happier?

welshcake Fri 05-Oct-12 22:27:36

What a load of tosh! My mum had pre-eclampsia having me - I'm super intellingent ;-). My husband's mother had high blood pressure when pregnant with him and he's also pretty bright lol. I had severe pre-eclampsia having my daughter who's now 3 and a sharp as can be. Stupid story. These scientists are as publicity hungry as a Z list reality TV show has been.

I fail to see the aspect of the original article that indicates the publicity hunger of the research team confused Would people rather that research into the impact of pre-eclampsia on subsequent adult development WASN'T conducted? Particularly when this might inform our understanding of cognitive decline in later life? It's worth remembering that the original research paper has likely been distorted somewhat by its passage through the press office, journalists etc. This project really won't have been funded, run and reported by a highly qualified research team motivated by an odd desire to make mums feel guilty for yet another thing they can't change.

This kind of research is useful because it a) helps ensure that prompt, effective treatment for women with high blood pressure (and their babies) remains a funding priority, b) suggests new ways of understanding (and therefore treating) the physiological effects of PIH on the infant and c) helps us understand better how the ageing process might be calibrated by early experiences like this, highlighting people that would benefit from support to maximise their likelihood of healthy and happy ageing when other risk factors for cognitive decline co-occur.

Disclaimer: have had pre-eclampsia myself, but also currently working as a research psychologist in clinical ageing (I have no links to this study, or to the institution / research staff concerned).

LonelyCloud Sun 07-Oct-12 21:49:06

Agree with FrozenNorthPole that this kind of research is useful, even if it's depressing reading for people who've had pre-eclampsia.

Also, people saying "My mum had pre-eclampsia and I'm really clever" doesn't mean the research is wrong. If a group of people have a lower IQ on average, that means that some of them are still likely to have a high IQ. There just won't be as many high IQ individuals in the low average IQ group as there are in the group with the higher average IQ.

(although I was born early by emergency CS because my mum had pre-eclampsia, and I've been through university)

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