Maternal Thyroid Function During Pregnancy and Behavioral Problems in the Offspring: The Generation R Study

Akhgar Ghassabian, JJ Bongers-Schokking, Jens Henrichs, Vincent Jaddoe, Theo Visser, Willy Visser, Sabine Schrama, H (Herbert) Hooijkaas, EAP Steegers, Bert Hofman, Frank Verhulst, J (Joyce) van der Ende, Yolanda Rijke, Henning Tiemeier

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Maternal thyroid function during pregnancy is implicated in the neurodevelopment of the offspring, yet little is known about the effect of maternal thyroid parameters on the behavior of children. We investigated the association of maternal thyroid function during the first half of pregnancy with parent-reported problem behavior of the offspring up to age of 3 y. In the Generation R study, a population-based cohort of 3736 children and their mothers, data on maternal thyroid function and child's behavior were examined. The degree of internalizing and externalizing problems in the children were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist at ages 1 1/2 and 3 y. Higher levels of maternal TSH during pregnancy predicted a higher externalizing scores in children at 1 1/2 and 3 y (B = 0.22 per SD of TSH; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.40; B = 0.10 per SD for internalizing scores; 95% CI: -0.01, 0.21). Maternal free thyroxine (T4) and total T4 were not associated with internalizing or externalizing scores of children. The linear relationship with more externalizing scores was across the range of TSH; this implies that subtle impairments of maternal thyroid function may affect the child. The results suggest that thyroid function is crucial for fetal brain development, which determines problem behavior later in life. (Pediatr Res 69: 454-459, 2011)
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)454-459
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-52-01-A
  • EMC MM-01-25-01
  • EMC MM-01-39-03
  • EMC MM-01-54-01
  • EMC MM-02-72-02
  • EMC MM-04-54-08-A
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-01
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-02
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01

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