Mum’s blood pressure affects IQ in kids

A new study published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology has suggested that a mother’s high blood pressure during her pregnancy may affect her child’s thinking skills throughout their lives.

Blood pressure pregnant

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 4th October 2012

The study, which was supported by many organisations including the British Heart Foundation examined medical records of the mother’s blood pressure in pregnancy for 398 men who were born between 1934 and 1944. Their thinking abilities were tested at 20 years of age, and again at 69. Their language skills, mathematical reasoning and visual and spatial relationships were tested.


The researchers found that men whose mothers had high blood pressure during their pregnancies scored lower in their thinking ability tests at age 69, compared with men with mothers who had normal blood pressure.  They also had lower scores at age 20 and a greater decline in scoring over the years.

Decline in abilities

Lead researcher Katri Räikönen, PhD, with the University of Helsinki in Finland said:

“High blood pressure and related conditions such as pre-eclampsia complicate about 10 percent of all pregnancies and can affect a baby’s environment in the womb.  Our study suggests that even declines in thinking abilities in old age could have originated during the prenatal period when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs”.

Source:  The American Academy of Neurology, Mom’s High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy Could Affect Child’s IQ in Old Age, 3rd October 2012

Photo: By Suzanne M. Day [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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