- Children born with low birth weights are at small increased risk for neuropsychiatric conditions in adulthood.
Why this matters
- Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and neurodevelopmental/neuropsychiatric conditions have been linked, but the strength of the association is not established.
- Repeated betamethasone doses in preterm FGR is not tied to childhood cognitive status, but FGR is.
- Within sibling pairs, reduced fetal growth had a significant effect on risk for specific diagnoses in adulthood (ORs; 95% CIs), including:
- Depression: 0.95 (0.92-0.98);
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 0.93 (0.87-0.99);
- ADHD: 0.86 (0.82-0.89); and
- Autism: 0.72 (0.69-0.76)
- Each 1-kg birth weight increase reduced some effects.
- Cohort from several Swedish registries.
- Full siblings born within 5 years of each other identified (546,894 pairs of full siblings).
- Birth weight obtained from database.
- Outcomes included: diagnoses of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, drug use, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder.
- Funding: Swedish Research Council through the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences.
- Only captured individuals with a diagnosis.
- Confounders may not be accounted for.
- Did not distinguish between birth weight and fetal growth restriction.