Depressing Study Shows Another Way We Screw Up Our Kids Before They're Even Born

You know what I just can't get enough of? Studies that show how things we totally cannot help during pregnancy may have long-lasting effects on our children. That's why I'm super-excited to hear that the high blood pressure I experienced during my first pregnancy may mean that my son has "a propensity toward lower cognitive ability"!

Awesome. Another thing to feel pointlessly guilty about: getting sent to the hospital at 37 weeks and pumped full of magnesium sulfate didn't just hose my shot at a non-nauseated, non-C-section birth, it made my kid DUMB.


Not that I think he's dumb at all -- if, for instance, having the eerie ability to assemble a complicated fighter jet out of a trillion instep-bruising LEGOs while 95 percent of his attention is directed at a Looney Tunes episode is any indication, my kid seems to be doing fine in at least some of the brains department (although I do question his ability to correctly identify a "clean" bedroom).

According to this recent Finnish study, however, he has a higher chance of being behind his peers in arithmetic reasoning and total cognitive ability in both young adulthood and old age. The research seems to indicate that men whose mothers' pregnancies had complications from hypertensive disorders displayed lower IQs than those whose mothers did not have high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Like all studies, this one's not exactly bulletproof: researchers only looked at men in Finland, the sample size was small, and there wasn't enough data to include two high blood pressure measurements in order to establish hypertensive disorders. Soo ... yeah, grain of salt, and all that.

Still, it's not something I feel great about hearing. These are the kinds of studies that make me a little crazy, honestly, because it's not like there's anything a person can do to avoid the situation. I mean, believe me, if I could have skipped the whole high blood pressure thing, I SO would have -- and I didn't even experience the sort of terrifying, life-threatening, early-in-pregnancy preeclampsia many women go through.

It seems like there's new research every day that tells us everything we do as parents, either by accident or on purpose, is wrong in some way. For the most part, I just tune most of them out, but I'm curious -- how do you deal with Big Bummer Studies? Do you absorb everything and adjust your life accordingly? Do you take in what you can, and discard the rest? Or do you stick your fingers in your ears and shout LA LA LA LA LA like I sometimes do?

Image via Jasleen_Kaur/Flickr

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