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Baby Health – University of Montreal Study Finds Pregnant Women who Ignore Asthma Pass it on to Kids

Posted Nov 22 2009 10:00pm

By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist

Upon discovery of being pregnant, women typically begin to make big lifestyle changes.  Of those lifestyle changes, women can question any medications currently being taken and forgo medications altogether without discussing with their physician first.  With the case of asthma medication, previous studies have found that the benefits outweigh the risk as a severe asthma attack can potentially harm a fetus.  A recent study echoes previous research revealing untreated asthma during pregnancy can pass the condition to the child. 

The study was conducted by the University of Montreal (U-M), Hospital du Sacre-Caur de Montreal, and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre and found that women who avoid treating asthma during pregnancy are likely to pass the condition to their babies.  Examining over 8,000 Canadian families, researchers discovered that 32.6% of children born to asthmatic mothers who parlayed treatment throughout pregnancy also developed asthma.

asthmapregnancy Study data included 10 years of health records for 8, 226 children, from birth to age 10, who were born to women with asthma. The children’s parents were also mailed detailed questionnaires regarding environment, habits, lifestyle, and familial medical history.

Researchers explain that uncontrolled maternal asthma may trigger a transient reaction in the fetus affecting lung development, eventually leading to asthma later in life for the child. Subsequently, as researcher and U-M professor Lucie Blais explains: “We found that failing to control maternal asthma during pregnancy clearly has an impact on asthma in offspring – a consequence that is independent of other contributing factors”.  Blais goes on to encourage physicians to treat maternal asthma during pregnancy for both positive pregnancy outcomes and the health of the child.

Pregnancy is an important time in a women’s life, and it is equally important to maintain regular check ups with a health care provider throughout pregnancy.  Be sure to discuss all questions or concerns with your physician, as well as any current medications.

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