Adverse Childhood Experiences Increase Risk for Pregnancy Complications

Risk more than 30 percent higher for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm delivery
Pregnant woman sleeping on bed
Pregnant woman sleeping on bedAdobe Stock
Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

MONDAY, Aug. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increases the risk for pregnancy complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes, according to a review published online Aug. 3 in BMJ Open.

Abdullah Mamun, Ph.D., from the University of Queensland in Saint Lucia, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association between ACEs and risk for pregnancy complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Based on 21 studies included in a meta-analysis, the researchers found that exposure to ACEs increased the risk of pregnancy complications (odds ratio, 1.37) and adverse pregnancy outcomes (odds ratio, 1.31). Specifically, maternal ACEs were associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (odds ratio, 1.39), antenatal depression (odds ratio, 1.59), low offspring birth weight (odds ratio, 1.27), and preterm delivery (odds ratio, 1.41).

"According to our findings and other systematic review evidence, it may be valuable to assess the role of routine ACEs screening during pregnancy to improve maternal and child health," the authors write. "Trauma-informed care is not well incorporated into clinical practice guidelines. Much of the emphasis in maternity care is on individual behavior change, including advice about diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and uptake of clinical care. Approaches that do not incorporate the personal experiences of trauma by women attending antenatal services may inadvertently cause iatrogenic harm."

Abstract/Full Text

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