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Pregnancy and birth outcomes of women with intellectual disability in Sweden: a national register study


  • Conflict of interest The authors have stated explicitly that there are no conflicts of interest in connection with this article.

  • Please cite this article as: Höglund B, Lindgren P, Larsson M. Pregnancy and birth outcomes of women with intellectual disability in Sweden: a national register study. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012; 91: DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0412.2012.01509.x.

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Berit Höglund, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: berit.hoglund@kbh.uu.se


Objective. To investigate the antenatal health and demographic factors as well as pregnancy and delivery outcomes in women with intellectual disability (ID) in Sweden. Design. A population-based register study. Setting. The National Patient Register (NPR) linked to the Medical Birth Register (MBR). Sample. Women with ID classified as International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 8–10 who gave birth in 1999–2007 (n = 326), identified from the NPR linked to the MBR, were compared with all first-time, singleton mothers without ID or any other psychiatric diagnoses during this period in Sweden (n = 340 624). Methods. Population-based data were extracted from the NPR and the MBR. Main outcome measures. Health and socio-demography at first antenatal visit, mode of delivery, pain relief during labor, preterm birth and discharge from hospital. Results. A higher proportion of women with ID were teenagers (18.4 vs. 3.3%), obese (20.1 vs. 8.6%) and single (36.6 vs. 6.2%) compared with women without ID, and women with ID smoked more often (27.9 vs. 7.9%). Women with ID had more often a preterm birth (12.2 vs. 6.1%), a cesarean section (CS) (24.5 vs. 17.7%) and used less nitrous oxide as pain relief during labor (59.5 vs. 75.8%). Women with ID had a higher risk for preterm birth [odds ratio (OR) 1.68], CS (OR1.55), non-use of nitrous oxide (OR 1.89) and discharge from hospital to a place other than home (OR 2.24). Conclusion. Pregnant women with ID should be considered a risk group suggesting that better tailored pre- and intrapartum care and support are needed for these women.