Family stability during childhood and the risk to develop hypertensive diseases in pregnancy.
BACKGROUND: Parental care giving, divorce and death are associated with physical health as an adult. AIM: To investigate whether the structure of the nuclear family during childhood shows any correlation with the development of hypertensive diseases in pregnancy as an adult. STUDY DESIGN: Self-administered questionnaires were sent to 2600 women with hypertensive diseases in pregnancy and to 1484 controls. SUBJECTS: After confirmation of the diagnosis data from 842 patients and 623 control women were evaluated. OUTCOME MEASURES: Type, number and involvement of different caregivers, parental separation, parental death. RESULTS: In both groups parental separation and parental death were found equally often. In all age groups during childhood fathers were involved significantly less often in care giving when women with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy were compared to control women (1st-3rd year 23.4%/17%,<0.0001; 4th-10th year 25.7%/19.3%,<0.0001; 11th-18th year 30.1%/23.9%,<0.0001). The total number of caregivers involved was significantly higher in patients. CONCLUSIONS: The quality of parental care giving, i.e. the involvement of fathers and the total number of caregivers correlate with the risk to develop HDP. Further research is needed to specify underlying mechanisms and the relevant factors of the parent-child relationship.