(HealthDay News) – Preeclampsia correlates with an increased risk of cerebral palsy, and the correlation is mediated by preterm birth and being small for gestational age, according to a study published online July 9 in BMJ.
Kristin Melheim Strand, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study using clinical data from the Norwegian Cerebral Palsy Registry linked with perinatal data recorded by the Medical Birth Registry of Norway for 849 children with cerebral palsy and 616,658 control children, who survived the neonatal period during 1996–2006.
The researchers found that, compared with unexposed children, those who were exposed to preeclampsia had an excess risk of cerebral palsy (unadjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.5). For babies born at term, and not born small for gestational age, exposure to preeclampsia was not associated with an excess risk of cerebral palsy (OR, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.7–2). However, a significantly increased risk of cerebral palsy was seen for those children who were exposed to preeclampsia and born small for gestational age (OR, 3.2). Compared with children born at term, those born moderately or very preterm had a significantly increased risk of cerebral palsy, both in the presence and absence of preeclampsia. For babies born very preterm, preeclampsia exposure correlated with a reduced risk of cerebral palsy for non-small-for-gestational-age babies (OR, 0.5). No specific cerebral palsy subtype was associated with preeclampsia exposure.
“Exposure to preeclampsia was associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy, and this association was mediated through the children being born preterm or small for gestational age, or both,” the authors write.