Maternal Stress During Pregnancy and Allergic Diseases in Children During the First Year of Life.Respir Care. 2018 Jan; 63(1):70-76.RC
Many recent studies indicate that prenatal maternal distress increases the risk of allergic diseases in children. The mechanisms that favor it are still unclear.
We aimed to assess the association between exposure to different kinds of prenatal stress and the occurrence of atopic dermatitis, food allergy, wheezing, and recurrent respiratory tract infections in children.
The study population consisted of 370 mother-child pairs from a Polish Mother and Child Cohort (REPRO_PL). The analysis was restricted to the women who worked at least one month during the pregnancy period. Maternal psychological stress during pregnancy was assessed based on the Subjective Work Characteristics Questionnaire, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the Social Readjustment Rating Scale. The presence of atopic dermatitis, food allergy, wheezing, and recurrent respiratory tract infections in children was evaluated by doctors at 12 months of age.
In a univariate model, we showed significant association between maternal life stress (according to the Perceived Stress Scale) and stressful life events (according to the Social Readjustment Rating Scale) and infant wheezing (at least 1 episode of wheezing during the first year of life). A multivariate model of logistic regression analysis revealed that maternal stress during pregnancy, described by the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, increased the risk of wheezing in children (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.01-1.02) independently from other predictors of wheezing previously determined in this cohort, such as the number of infections and maternal smoking. We observed also significant positive association between maternal life stress during pregnancy measured by the Perceived Stress Scale and the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections in the first year of life, however it was not significant after adjustment for confounding variables.
Maternal stress during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood wheezing. The effects of stress during pregnancy on the onset of allergic diseases in children should be developed and translated into early prevention strategies.