Prenatal Distress Tied to Higher Risk of Childhood Wheeze

Prenatal demoralization linked to childhood wheeze among low income urban minorities

FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal demoralization is associated with an increased risk of childhood wheeze among low-income urban African-Americans and Hispanics, according to a study published in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Marilyn Reyes, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues investigated the relationship of maternal demoralization with wheeze, specific wheeze phenotypes, and seroatopy among children living in a low-income, urban minority community. Validated questionnaires were used to assess maternal demoralization, both pre- and postnatal, in 279 urban African-American and Hispanic pregnant women, aged 18 to 35 years. Questionnaires and total and indoor allergen specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels at birth and ages 2, 3, and 5 years were used to measure wheezing outcomes, including transient (birth to 2.5 years of age), late onset (ages 3 to 5 years), and persistent wheezing (birth to 5 years of age).

The investigators found that overall (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.66), transient (OR, 2.25), and persistent (OR, 2.69) wheezing in children was significantly predicted by prenatal demoralization. No correlation was identified between prenatal demoralization and total and specific IgE levels in the child.

"Prenatal demoralization was predictive of wheeze among children in this urban cohort," the authors write. "Understanding how maternal demoralization may influence children's health is an important step in developing effective interventions and alleviating the disproportionate burden of asthma and respiratory illness in urban minority populations."

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