Prenatal maternal stress and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Manzari, Nicla
Matvienko-Sikar, Karen
Baldoni, Franco
O'Keeffe, Gerard W.
Khashan, Ali S.
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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Purpose: Exposure to prenatal stress has been reported to affect the risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in the offspring; however, there is currently no clear consensus. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the existing literature on the association between prenatal stress and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the offspring. Methods: Based on a registered protocol, we searched several electronic databases for articles in accordance with a detailed search strategy. We performed this study following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Results: Prenatal stress was significantly associated with an increased risk of both ASD (pooled OR 1.64 [95% CI 1.15–2.34]; I2 = 90%; 15 articles) and ADHD (pooled OR 1.72 [95% CI 1.27–2.34]; I2 = 85%; 12 articles). Conclusions: This study suggests that prenatal stress may be associated with ASD and ADHD; however, several limitations in the reviewed literature should be noted including significant heterogeneity and there is a need for carefully controlled future studies in this area.
Autism spectrum disorder , Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Prenatal maternal stress , Pregnancy , Mental health
Manzari, N., Matvienko-Sikar, K., Baldoni, F., O'Keeffe, G. W. and Khashan, A. S. (2019) 'Prenatal maternal stress and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring: a systematic review and meta-analysis', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01745-3
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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. The final authenticated version is available online at: