Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy obesity and neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring: a systematic review

Authors

  • R. J. Van Lieshout,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    2. The Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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  • V. H. Taylor,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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  • M. H. Boyle

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    2. The Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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RJ Van Lieshout, Department of Psychaitry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Chedoke Division, Box 2000, Central Building Room 304, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5. E-mail: vanlierj@mcmaster.ca

Summary

Maternal obesity in pregnancy is associated with a number of adverse outcomes for mother and her offspring both perinatally and later in life. This includes recent evidence that suggests that obesity in pregnancy may be associated with central nervous system problems in the foetus and newborn. Here, we systematically review studies that have explored associations between maternal overweight and obesity in pregnancy and cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems in offspring. The 12 studies eligible for this review examined a wide range of outcomes across the lifespan and eight provided evidence of a link. These data suggest that the offspring of obese pregnancies may be at increased risk of cognitive problems and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood, eating disorders in adolescence and psychotic disorders in adulthood. Given the limitations of existing data, these findings warrant further study, particularly in light of the current worldwide obesity epidemic.

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