Maternal Anemia Associated With Childhood Wheezing

With or without maternal asthma, anemia ups childhood asthma risk

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal anemia during pregnancy is linked with wheezing and asthma in early childhood, according to a study published in the February issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Elizabeth W. Triche, Ph.D., from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues examined the association between maternal anemia during pregnancy and asthma and wheezing in early childhood. A cohort of 597 women were followed during pregnancy, and contacted when their child was 6 years old to assess respiratory health. A diagnosis of maternal anemia and hemoglobin levels of less than 11 during delivery hospitalization was considered exposure to maternal anemia. Study outcomes included early childhood wheezing, wheeze patterns from birth to age 6, and childhood asthma diagnosis.

The investigators found that, in the 11.9 percent of women with maternal anemia, there was an association with recurrent infant wheeze in the first year (adjusted odds ratio [ORa], 2.17), wheezing in children younger than 3 (ORa, 2.42), and early-onset transient and persistent wheeze patterns (ORa, 2.81 and 2.07, respectively). Maternal anemia was linked with recurrent wheeze in the first year and wheezing before age 3 (ORa, 4.22 and 2.73, respectively) in children of mothers with asthma. Children whose mothers had asthma had increased likelihood of asthma diagnosis and current asthma (ORa, 2.53 and 3.46, respectively).

"Maternal anemia during pregnancy was associated with both short-term (recurrent wheeze in first year of life and wheeze by 3 years of age) and longer-term (asthma diagnosis ever and asthma at age 6) respiratory health outcomes in children," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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