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Depression or Anxiety in Pregnancy Can Cause Childhood Asthma

posted 02:15 AM EST, Thu July 14, 2011
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Pregnant women who experience significant depression or anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to have children who suffer with asthma.

According to Columbia University researchers, your state of mind during pregnancy has lasting physical health implications for your children.

The researchers measured rates of depression and anxiety amongst 279 African American or Hispanic women study subjects prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Years later, these same women were interviewed for information on the physical health of their children.

  • 70% of women who reported experiencing serious depression or anxiety during pregnancy gave birth to a child who experienced wheezing prior to the age of 5 (wheezing is a symptom of asthma)

Other symptoms of childhood asthma include coughing during the night and difficulty breathing.

The findings of the study are consistent with earlier research done on a sample pool of white mothers.

Lead study author Marilyn Reyes commented on the significance of the results, saying, “Understanding how maternal depression affects a child's respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions.”

The full study results can be read in the current edition of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.


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Story Highlights
  • Asthma: Moms who get very depressed or anxious during pregnancy increase the risks for childhood asthma
  • Symptoms of Childhood Asthma: In addition to wheezing, other warning signs include coughing at night and difficulty breathing
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