Mother's Anxiety and Depression affects Kids for Asthama, fi
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Kids whose mothers had depression and anxiety during pregnancy were at a greater risk of asthma in later childhood, according to a prospective cohort study. Mothers who experienced stress or depression while pregnant had children with a 46%-91% increased risk of asthma later on. Overall psychological distress was associated with lower lung function in offspring, including lower forced vital capacity. Results suggest a possible intrauterine effect of maternal psychological distress during pregnancy on the risk of asthma and partly lower lung function in children at the age of 10 years.

The group suggested that excess production of glucocorticoid hormones in expecting mothers with depression or anxiety could potentially impact fetal development of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, and contribute to respiratory issues. Glucocorticoid-regulated genes are key to fetal lung development, especially during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Any disruption in this process could lead to developmental adaptations of the lungs and, hence, altered lung function. Maternal psychological distress has previously been found to be associated with wheezing and asthma in preschool kids, suggesting that intrauterine mechanisms could play a role in lung growth and asthma. However, the researchers stated that few studies have examined risk of asthma in later childhood.

Researchers used the Brief Symptom Inventory, a self-reported questionnaire that covers psychological distresses, to measure maternal and paternal psychological distress during the second trimester and 3 years after pregnancy. In addition, maternal distress was assessed during the s2 & 6 month after pregnancy. Lung function was measured in children at 10 years via a spirometry test, and asthma was identified by questionnaire. There were 4,231 children in the study. Of all parents included, around 9% of mothers and 4% of fathers reported psychological distress. More than 200 children (5.9%) had asthma. Only maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy were linked to a lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second and lower forced vital capacity in their children.

The researchers stated that these associations were independent of paternal psychological distress during and after pregnancy, as well as maternal psychological distress after pregnancy. However, associations were strongest for mothers who experienced depression and anxiety both during and after their pregnancy.