Maternal trauma associated with low male infant birthweight

Maternal trauma associated with low male infant birthweight

(HealthDay)—Higher lifetime trauma among women is associated with decreased birthweight among male offspring, according to a study published Sept. 6 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Julie D. Flom, M.D., M.P.H., from Kravis Children's Hospital in New York City, and colleagues evaluated associations between maternal lifetime traumatic stress and offspring birthweight among 314 mother-infant dyads (41 percent Hispanic; 26 percent black). A 3-cm scalp-nearest maternal hair segment collected at birth was assayed to reflect cumulative third-trimester secretion.

The researchers found that 63 percent of women reported at least one traumatic event. Prenatal cortisol modified the correlation between maternal trauma and infant birthweight. Male infants whose mothers had higher lifetime trauma and increased cortisol had significantly lower birthweights. Among boys exposed to the 90th percentile of cortisol, a one-unit increase in trauma score was associated with a 0.19-unit decrease in birthweight for gestational age z-scores. These associations were not significant among female infants regardless of .

"These findings underscore the need to consider complex interactions among maternal trauma, disrupted in utero cortisol production, and fetal sex to fully elucidate intergenerational effects of maternal ," the authors write.


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Women who experienced higher levels of trauma gave birth to significantly smaller male babies

More information: Abstract/Full Text
Journal information: Journal of Pediatrics

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