Dr Eva Antoniou, joint University of Birmingham/University of Maastricht PhD studentships, looked into the correlation between genetic, environmental and intrauterine factors in child development.

She looked at data from two large twin studies: the Twins and Multiple Births Association Heritability Study (TAMBAHS) and the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey (EFPTS).

An association between birth weight and child development has already been established, so what this study set out to find was whether there were associations between other factors of the intrauterine environment and child development.

Heritability of the umbilical cord, IQ, temperament and behaviour problems were estimated. Fetal characteristics, such as birth weight, placental weight and morphology, umbilical cord knots, length and insertions were all investigated in relation to the child’s development in the EFPTS study. In the TAMBAHS study, the impact of maternal pre-pregnancy weight on temperament and behaviour problems was examined.

Read the full report and findings.