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Association between childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position and pregnancy induced hypertension: results from the Aberdeen children of the 1950s cohort study
  1. Debbie A Lawlor1,
  2. Susan M B Morton2,
  3. Dorothea Nitsch3,
  4. David A Leon3
  1. 1Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D A Lawlor
 Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK;


Background: Pregnancy induced hypertension may indicate a tendency towards endothelial and metabolic abnormalities leading to future cardiovascular disease. Childhood socioeconomic adversity is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk but the association with pregnancy induced hypertension is unknown.

Aim: To examine the association of childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position with pregnancy induced hypertension.

Design: Historical cohort study with record linkage to obstetric data.

Subjects: 3485 women who were born in Aberdeen between 1950 and 1956 and delivered 7080 viable singleton offspring in the period up until to 1999.

Main outcome measure: Pregnancy induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension) in these women’s pregnancies.

Results: Neither childhood nor adulthood socioeconomic position were associated with either pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension. The fully adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) comparing those born in manual social classes to those born in non-manual social classes for pre-eclampsia was 1.10 (0.72 to 1.73) and for gestational hypertension was 1.02 (0.83 to 1.32). Similar results comparing women in manual with non-manual social classes classified at the time of each pregnancy were 1.09 (0.73 to 1.67) for pre-eclampsia and 0.99 (0.81 to 1.30) for gestational hypertension.

Conclusion: Although imprecise these results suggest that neither childhood nor adulthood socioeconomic adversity is associated with pregnancy induced hypertension.

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  • Funding: the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study is funded as a component project (G0828205) of a Medical Research Council Co-operative Group—Life-course and trans-generational influences on disease risk (G9819083). Debbie A Lawlor is funded by a Department of Health (UK) Career Scientist Award and Dorothea Nitsch is funded by the Medical Research Council. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of any funding body.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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