Results of maternal childhood maltreatment on perinatal psychological well being


It’s recognised in UK coverage that the primary 1,000 days (from conception to age two) of a kid’s life is a important interval. The Marmot evaluate (2010) states that “what occurs in these early years, beginning within the womb, has lifelong results” on an individual’s well being, well-being, and life possibilities.

There’s a huge physique of analysis into antagonistic childhood experiences (ACEs) and biopsychosocial outcomes all through growth. There was much less analysis into the potential mechanisms concerned within the transmission of the results of transgenerational trauma. Transgenerational trauma is the psychological and physiological influence of trauma on subsequent generations (e.g. the influence on a toddler of their mom having skilled childhood maltreatment).

There’s a want to grasp the influence of transgenerational trauma to raised perceive the way to assist weak households. Though the federal government lately pledged £492 million to early assist providers, this follows a decade of underinvestment. Constructing the proof base round baby maltreatment within the UK is due to this fact important to current to future policy-makers. Specializing in moms who had been maltreated as youngsters themselves (maternal childhood maltreatment), Souch and colleagues (2022) performed a scientific evaluate of this on perinatal outcomes.

Since early intervention has been recognised as key, it is important to ask the question: how can we support vulnerable families in the critical years of a child's life?

Since early intervention has been recognised as key, it is very important ask the query: how can we assist weak households within the important years of a kid’s life?


Souch and colleagues (2022) performed searches for journal articles that checked out an affiliation between publicity to maternal childhood maltreatment and antagonistic perinatal outcomes. Particularly, the 4 following antagonistic perinatal outcomes have been looked for:

  • Being pregnant and obstetrics (e.g., miscarriages, start weight, parental nervousness)
  • Maternal psychological well being (e.g., melancholy, suicidal ideation, emotion regulation)
  • Toddler outcomes (e.g., toddler emotional processing, toddler cognitive, toddler bodily growth)
  • The standard of the caregiving surroundings (e.g., mother-infant relationship high quality, baby abuse potential, maternal emotional availability).

The authors adopted PRISMA tips and searched eight databases. Two reviewers independently screened full texts and assessed knowledge high quality. The reviewers additionally examined the reference lists of included research and contacted the primary authors of included research to determine unpublished and in-press research. Knowledge have been extracted and tabulated, and high quality was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa High quality Evaluation Scale (Wells et al., 2017), which examines the choice of the research teams; the comparability of the teams; and evaluation of the result.


The evaluate included 49 research in whole. Over 50% of the included research have been performed within the USA. The overall variety of girls included on this evaluate was almost 20,000, with roughly 1 / 4 having skilled childhood maltreatment rising up. About 40% of research performed assessments of maternal childhood maltreatment and outcomes throughout being pregnant, and the rest carried out assessments after start. Maternal childhood maltreatment was measured in a wide range of self-report questionnaires. High quality rankings for the included research are offered individually in a desk and should not mentioned additional.

The evaluate discovered that maternal childhood maltreatment was related to the next antagonistic perinatal outcomes:

  • Alterations in infants’ emotional processing
  • Parental baby abuse potential
  • Maternal emotional availability
  • Maternal impulsiveness and risk-taking
  • Suicidal ideation through the perinatal interval
  • Maternal emotion regulation difficulties.

By evaluation of the included research, the authors discovered that maternal childhood maltreatment was related to pre-pregnancy psychopathology, socioeconomic standing, and substance use (all of that are elements which were beforehand recognized as associated to antagonistic perinatal outcomes). The evaluate assimilates the proof inside every subtype of antagonistic final result by narrative synthesis.

Just a few research investigated perinatal outcomes by maternal childhood maltreatment sub-type. Inside the research that measured this, emotional and sexual childhood maltreatment have been probably the most constant predictors of antagonistic perinatal outcomes.

Trying on the included research collectively, a number of psychosocial elements have been recognized as covariates. These included: maternal alcohol use, substance use, age, schooling, smoking and ethnicity.

This review found that maternal childhood maltreatment is associated with a wide range of adverse perinatal outcomes including the potential for parental child abuse.

This evaluate discovered that maternal childhood maltreatment is related to a variety of antagonistic perinatal outcomes together with the potential for parental baby abuse.


The authors concluded that maternal childhood maltreatment was related to a number of destructive outcomes for moms and their offspring. The authors additionally discovered that maternal childhood maltreatment was related to a number of elements which have beforehand been recognized as being associated to antagonistic perinatal outcomes. The evaluate assimilates processes outlined within the included research that might account for the connection between maternal childhood maltreatment and destructive perinatal outcomes.

The impact of maternal childhood maltreatment on perinatal outcomes is situated within a bigger picture of adversity and potentially deprivation.

The influence of maternal childhood maltreatment on perinatal outcomes is located inside a much bigger image of adversity and (probably) deprivation.

Strengths and limitations

By way of methodological strengths, the authors adopted PRISMA tips which means that the evaluate adopted an evidence-based minimal set of things in reporting. The authors searched eight databases and screened the reference lists of all eligible papers, so it’s probably the search was thorough and retrieved all eligible journal articles. The evaluate included almost 50 papers which is a big quantity for a evaluate of this sort, and the authors have properly synthesised the present proof on maternal childhood maltreatment and antagonistic perinatal outcomes utilizing narrative synthesis, which was applicable as a substitute of a meta-analysis because of the usually small variety of research inside every subtype of final result. Though the authors used a high quality score scale, the outcomes of this weren’t mentioned in relation to the papers included within the evaluate.

The evaluate’s predominant methodological issue, which is famous by the authors, is that the reporting of maternal childhood maltreatment was all by self-report and that completely different measures are utilized in completely different research (12 completely different measures inside the 49 research). There’s little data, due to this fact, concerning the sort, length and timing of the maltreatment skilled by the moms. It’s probably that completely different experiences would result in completely different problems within the perinatal interval.

By way of ideology, in my view, this evaluate takes a reductionist viewpoint on the advanced interplay of a kid with their surroundings and their outcomes. Maternal childhood maltreatment is only one issue inside the diathesis-stress mannequin that may influence perinatal outcomes. For instance, it is very important notice that youngsters usually tend to expertise antagonistic experiences if their mother and father have been additionally topic to abuse and trauma in childhood (WAVE Belief). I perceive the necessity for the evaluate to be on a particular issue for it to be possible, nevertheless, I feel the background and conclusions on this evaluate may take a extra biopsychosocial stance as a substitute of focussing on organic mechanisms. For instance, the authors write that they recognized pre- and post-natal processes related to maternal childhood maltreatment and write that these processes can have an effect on the “maternal programming course of” (St-Cyr et al., 2017). St-Cyr and colleague’s (2017) paper is a research on mice that refers to this course of in fish, rats and mice. It, due to this fact, appears a little bit of a bounce to conclude this.

This review suffers from a lack of detail regarding the type, duration and timing of the maltreatment experienced by the mothers. It is likely that different experiences may lead to different complications in the perinatal period.

This evaluate suffers from a scarcity of element concerning the kind, length and timing of the maltreatment skilled by the moms. It’s probably that completely different experiences could result in completely different problems within the perinatal interval.

Implications for observe

The evaluate goes on to attempt to synthesise potential organic mechanisms concerned in resulting in the antagonistic outcomes of childhood maternal maltreatment (e.g. genetic elements, hormone adjustments), regardless of the small variety of included research that report on these mechanisms. The authors additionally summarise psychosocial mediating mechanisms (e.g. pre-pregnancy functioning) mentioned within the included research. The Early Intervention Basis argues that it’s important to not create a story the place all alternatives to assist baby growth are misplaced on the finish of infancy since growth continues all through childhood and into adolescence. To provide each baby one of the best begin in life, intervention should start earlier than conception and proceed all through childhood.

Inhabitants-level screening for parental childhood maltreatment may very well be a device to determine households who could be in want of assist to scale back the chance of antagonistic outcomes in youngsters. This is also helpful by way of safeguarding since analysis has discovered that folks with a historical past of childhood maltreatment (significantly emotional or bodily abuse) had a better danger of abusing their very own youngsters (Bert et al., 2009), in addition to greater ranges of anger, and extra violent bodily self-discipline towards infants (Altemeier et al., 1986).

This paper focussed on moms and didn’t take into account the programs round infants, and particularly didn’t point out the position of fathers. Future analysis on the influence of fathers who’ve skilled childhood maltreatment may very well be fascinating to develop a broader understanding of the impacts of maltreatment on parenting.

Population-level screening for parental childhood maltreatment could be a tool to identify families who might be in need of support and as a safeguarding tool.

Inhabitants-level screening for parental childhood maltreatment may very well be a device to determine households who could be in want of assist and as a safeguarding device.

Assertion of pursuits



Major paper

Souch, A. J., Jones, I. R., Shelton, Okay. H., & Waters, C. S. (2022). Maternal childhood maltreatment and perinatal outcomes: A scientific evaluate (PDF). Journal of Affective Problems.

Different references

Altemeier, W. A., O’Connor, S., Sherrod, Okay. B., Tucker, D., & Vietze, P. (1986). Consequence of abuse throughout childhood amongst pregnant low earnings girls. Youngster abuse & neglect, 10(3), 319-330.

Bert, S. C., Guner, B. M., Lanzi, R. G., & Centersfor Preventionof Youngster Neglect. (2009). The affect of maternal historical past of abuse on parenting data and conduct. Household relations, 58(2), 176-187.

Drake, B., & Jonson-Reid, M. (2014). Poverty and baby maltreatment. In Handbook of kid maltreatment (pp. 131-148). Springer, Dordrecht.

St-Cyr, S., Abuaish, S., Sivanathan, S., & McGowan, P. O. (2017). Maternal programming of sex-specific responses to predator odor stress in grownup rats. Hormones and conduct, 94, 1-12.

Strategic Evaluate of Well being Inequalities in England post-2010. (2010). Truthful society, more healthy lives: The Marmot evaluate.

The most effective begin for all times: a imaginative and prescient for the 1001 important days. Division of Well being and Social Care. March 2021.

WAVE Belief (2014) A preventive and built-in strategy to early baby growth: What’s Lacking? And Subsequent Steps, p4,

Wells, G., Shea, B., O’connell, D., Peterson, J., Welch, V., Losos, M., & Tugwell, P. (2017). The Newcastle-Ottawa High quality Evaluation Scale (NOS) for assessing the standard of nonrandomized research in meta-analyses. Clin Epidemiol [Internet], 2017, 1-2.

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