Asthma in full progression

Pregnancy can be stressful. Attention, these tensions are not harmless for the mother but not only: they could increase the risk of having an asthmatic child. A good reason to stay for nine months as zen as possible!

A risk of asthma increased by 65% ​​in case of intense anxiety

For working women, it is always difficult to reconcile work and maternity! But ladies, beware of stress! Presented at the European Congress of Pneumology 2008, a new study links stress during pregnancy to the risk of having an asthmatic child.

How to explain the link between stress and asthma?

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in pediatrics, with nearly one in ten children affected. Although the causes of this respiratory condition are not yet fully elucidated, it is established that seizures can be caused, inter alia, by psychological or emotional factors. Not just those of asthmatics, but two studies have recently revealed a link between the anxiety of the child's relatives (mother or social worker, for example) and the early development of respiratory whistling. , Scientists wanted to assess the effect of stress before the birth of the child. The Bristol team relied on the follow-up of a large cohort of pregnant women in the former county of Avon who were to give birth between April 1, 1991 and December 31, 1992. In total, 5,810 of the mother / child couples were selected to explore the links between prenatal stress and childhood asthma.

Maternal anxiety was assessed by self-completed questionnaires at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. The women were thus divided into 4 groups of increasing anxiety. Infant asthma was sought around the age of 7.5 through questionnaires submitted to the mother. Clinically, a search for bronchial hyperreactivity and pricks skin tests (to determine whether asthma was of allergic origin and to which allergens) were made. Asthma was found in about 13% of toddlers, but this proportion increased to 17% if the mother was stressed at 32 weeks of pregnancy and 14% at 18 weeks of stress. The relationship between asthma and prenatal stress is even more obvious when the expectant mother is one of the most anxious mothers: the risk of asthma can increase by 65% ​​for maximum stress at 32 weeks and by 53% For high anxiety at 18 weeks of pregnancy Although this relative "over-risk" is slightly attenuated by taking into account all other factors, it remains statistically significant.

But if stressed pregnant women, particularly in late pregnancy, are at increased risk of having a child who becomes asthmatic, how can this be explained? Scientists point out that animal studies have shown that prenatal stress causes a disturbance of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (which controls the hormones related to the major functions of the body) and the immune system. According to them, these disruptions would predispose the offspring to airway inflammation and bronchial hyperreactivity, in brief to suffer from asthma. "Our first hypothesis was that maternal stress during pregnancy was associated with infantile asthma. Our second hypothesis was that this effect did not go through an allergic mechanism, and that it would be stronger in non-allergic children than in others, "explained Raquel Granell, study. If the first hypothesis has been proved, the latter remains in suspense.

In spite of several shortcomings (the stress was not measured by the team, it is not known whether it is a transient tension or a chronic disorder, the anxious mothers could report more symptoms ... ), This relation of a proportional association between the risk of infant asthma and the anxiety of the mother during pregnancy must cause all mothers to spend 9 months under the sign of tranquility. To put all the assets on your side, discover our "Well in your head during pregnancy" folder.

ERS Press Release - October 2008