Aim: We examined the association between early maternal psychological distress after severe hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and behavioural issues in their 12-year-old offspring. Methods: This secondary analyses of a prospective mother–child birth cohort focused on 95 women with severe HDP and their singleton offspring. The mothers were recruited during pregnancy from 2000 to 2003 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Maternal distress at child term age and three months post-term was measured using the Symptom Checklist-90. The Child Behaviour Checklist for six years to 18 years was used to quantify social and attention problems in their offspring at 12 years of age. Perinatal and neonatal risk factors were also analysed. Results: The children were born at a mean age of just under 32 weeks and 90% weighed below the 10th percentile. High psychological distress (score ≥133) affected 45% of the mothers at term age and 44% three months post-term. Child social problems were significantly associated with maternal distress at three months and were highest in cases of high maternal distress in combination with major neonatal morbidity. Child attention problems were associated with maternal anxiety at three months post-term. Conclusion: Early maternal psychological distress after severe maternal HDP was associated with childhood behavioural issues at the age of 12.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1066
Number of pages6
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number6
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Child behaviour
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
  • Maternal psychological distress
  • Neonatal morbidity
  • Pre-eclampsia

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