Mother’s illness during pregnancy may influence baby’s allergies

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Pregnant women may want to take extra care through cold and flu season. The more common colds and viral infections a woman has during pregnancy, the higher the risk that her baby will have asthma.

A new study has found a mother’s infections and bacterial exposure during pregnancy affect the in utero environment increasing a baby’s risk of developing allergy and asthma.

Dust mite allergies increased

“In addition, these same children that had early exposure to allergens, such as house dust and pet dander, had increased odds of becoming sensitized by age five,” explained allergist Mitch Grayson, MD, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology editor and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “When dust mites from the mother’s and child’s mattresses were examined, children with high dust mite exposure yet low bacteria exposure were more likely to be allergic to dust mites than those with low mite exposure and high bacteria contact.”

Start before birth

Asthma and allergy can be hereditary. A child has a 75 percent chance of developing allergies if both parents are allergic. If one parent is allergic there is a 30 to 40 percent chance. The chance is only 10 to 15 percent if neither parent has allergies.

“We know that allergy and asthma can develop in the womb since genetics play a factor in both diseases,” explained allergist Michael Foggs, MD, ACAAI president. “But this study sheds light about how a mother’s environment during pregnancy can begin affecting the child before birth.”

The researchers studied 513 pregnant women and their 526 children by questionnaires completed during pregnancy and when the children were three and twelve months old, then every year to five years old. Of the families, 61 percent had a parent with asthma, hay fever, allergies or some level of atopic dermatitis.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

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