Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Health Research Methodology
Michael H. Boyle
Objectives: To examine associations between macrosomia, maternal body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy, and psychopathology in youth, and to determine if these are due to prenatal environmental exposures or confounding variables.
Methods: Study 1 reviewed studies examining associations between macrosomia and mental health. Data from the Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) were then used to explore these links in youth (Study 2). A second review summarized studies assessing associations between maternal pregnancy BMI and psychopathology in offspring (Study 3). Data from the Western Australia Pregnancy Cohort were then used to quantify associations between maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and child behaviour at age 1 and 2 (Study 4), and from 5-17 years of age (Study 5).
Results: Seven of the 15 studies that had examined associations between macrosomia and psychopathology supported a link. In the OCHS, youth born macrosomic had elevated externalizing scores compared those born at appropriate birth weights. Eight of 12 studies suggested that links exist between elevated maternal BMI during pregnancy and psychopathology in offspring. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was positively associated with offspring externalizing problems from age 2 to 17 and linked to less favourable trajectories of internalizing symptoms from 5-17. These findings persisted despite adjustment for confounders.
Conclusions: Youth born macrosomic have elevated levels of externalizing symptoms, though a more robust association was noted with maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. The data comprising this thesis suggest that associations between macrosomia/maternal BMI and externalizing and internalizing problems in youth may be due to intrauterine exposures rather than confounding variables.
Van Lieshout, Ryan J. MD, PhD, FRCP(C), "MATERNAL PRE-PREGNANCY BODY MASS INDEX, MACROSOMIA, AND MENTAL HEALTH IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7181.
McMaster University Library