(BlackDoctor.org) — Anxiety, stress and depression during pregnancy may lead to a greater risk of asthma for your child. Study results are published in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“Approximately 70 percent of mothers who said they experienced high levels of anxiety or depression while they were pregnant reported their child had wheezed before age 5,” said Marilyn Reyes, lead author of the study. “Understanding how maternal depression affects a child’s respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions.”
The study of 279 inner-city African-American and Hispanic women was conducted before, during pregnancy and after birth. The study results support growing research that the prenatal period is a time when children are particularly susceptible to asthma-related risks. While somewhat similar findings have been reported in non-minority populations, this study at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health is the first to report an association between stress and wheeze in minority populations.
“The symptoms of pediatric asthma can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies,” said allergist Rachel Miller, MD, study senior author. “With the right treatment, your child can sleep through the night, avoid missing time from day care or preschool, and breathe easy.”
Common asthma symptoms include:
• Coughing, especially at night
• Wheezing or whistling sound, especially when breathing out
• Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
• Frequent colds that settle in the chest
If your child’s symptoms keep coming back, it might be asthma. If you think your child may have asthma, see an allergist. To learn more about asthma and allergies, visit BDO’s Asthma & Allergies Channel.