Exposure to an adverse prenatal environment can influence fetal development and result in long-lasting changes in the offspring. However, the association between maternal exposure to stressful events during pregnancy and the achievement of pre-reading skills in the offspring is unknown. Here we examined the association between prenatal exposure to the Chilean high-magnitude earthquake that occurred on February 27th, 2010 and the development of early reading precursors skills (listening comprehension, print knowledge, alphabet knowledge, vocabulary, and phonological awareness) in children at kindergarten age. This multilevel retrospective cohort study including 3280 children, of whom 2415 were unexposed and 865 were prenatally exposed to the earthquake shows substantial evidence that maternal exposure to an unambiguously stressful event resulted in impaired pre-reading skills and that a higher detrimental effect was observed in those children who had been exposed to the earthquake during the first trimester of gestation. In addition, females were more significantly affected by the exposure to the earthquake than their male peers in alphabet knowledge; contrarily, males were more affected than females in print knowledge skills. These findings suggest that early intervention programs for pregnant women and/or children exposed to prenatal stress may be effective strategies to overcome impaired pre-reading skills in children.
Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo9244
Páginas (desde-hasta)9244
PublicaciónScientific Reports
EstadoPublicada - dic. 2021

Nota bibliográfica

Funding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by the Perinatology Research Branch, Division of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Division of Intramural Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (NICHD/NIH/DHHS); and, in part, with Federal funds from NICHD/NIH/DHHS under Contract No. HHSN275201300006C. Dr. Romero has contributed to this work as part of his official duties as an employee of the United States Federal Government.

Funding Information:
Conceptualization, L.F.B., Y.K.P.-S., P.O. and S.E.I.; Methodology, L.F.B, Y.K.P.-S., G.E.R., M.A.C.; Formal Analysis, L.F.B., Y.K.P.-S., A.M.G., U.W.; Investigation, L.F.B., Y.K.P.-S., L.J.M. and P.O. Data Curation, R.R., M.A.C. and U.W.; Writing—Original Draft Preparation, L.F.B, Y.K.P.-S., L.J.M. and S.E.I.; Validation, G.E.R., A.M.G., R.R. and M.A.C.; Writing—Review and Editing, L.F.B., Y.K.P.-S., G.E.R., L.J.M., A.M.G., R.R., M.A.C., U.W., P.O. and S.E.I.; Supervision, R.R., P.O. and S.E.I.; Project Administration, L.F.B., L.J.M. and P.O. L.J.M. acknowledges partial support from FONDECYT de Iniciación through grant 11181249, Chilean National Agency for Research and Development (ANID). S.E.I. acknowledges partial support from FONDECYT Regular through grant 1201851, Chilean National Agency for Research and Development (ANID). L.F.B. and S.E.I. are partially supported by Grant FAIN2018 (Universidad de los Andes).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Palabras clave

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chile; Comprehension
  • Earthquakes
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Reading
  • Retrospective Studies


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