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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2013, Article ID 636705, 10 pages
Research Article

Maternal Thyroid Dysfunction and Risk of Seizure in the Child: A Danish Nationwide Cohort Study

1Department of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Søndre Skovvej 15, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
2Section for Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Received 11 April 2013; Revised 3 June 2013; Accepted 27 June 2013

Academic Editor: Antonio Farina

Copyright © 2013 Stine Linding Andersen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thyroid hormones are essential for brain development, and maternal thyroid disease may affect child neurocognitive development. Some types of seizures may also depend upon early exposure of the developing central nervous system, and we hypothesized that maternal thyroid dysfunction could increase the risk of seizure in the child. In a Danish population-based study we included 1,699,693 liveborn singletons, and from the Danish National Hospital Register we obtained information on maternal diagnosis of hyper- or hypothyroidism and neonatal seizure, febrile seizure, and epilepsy in the child. Maternal diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction before or after birth of the child was registered in two percent of the singleton births. In adjusted analyses, maternal hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism first time diagnosed after birth of the child were associated with a significant increased risk of epilepsy in the child. Moreover, hypothyroidism diagnosed after birth of the child was associated with a significant increased risk of neonatal and febrile seizures. No significant association was seen for maternal diagnosis prior to birth of the child. We speculate if some degree of maternal thyroid dysfunction was already present during the pregnancy in mothers diagnosed after birth of the child and if this untreated condition may present a neurodevelopmental risk.