Study Explores Effects of Environmental Exposures in Utero and Early Childhood on Asthma Risk

In a March 2016 article of PLOS One, researchers examined how “environmental exposures that occur in utero and during early life may contribute to the development of childhood asthma.” In order to better understand the effects, they “conducted a population-based birth cohort study of mother-child dyads who were born between 1995 and 2003 and were continuously enrolled in the PRIMA (Prevention of RSV: Impact on Morbidity and Asthma) cohort.” Specifically, researchers looked at the impact of “maternal urinary tract infections (UTI) during pregnancy, maternal colonization with group B streptococcus (GBS), mode of delivery, infant antibiotic use, and older siblings at home, on the risk of childhood asthma.” When the data were available, they also examined the effects of maternal antibiotic use during pregnancy on the risk of childhood asthma.

The study found “maternal UTI during pregnancy… and infant antibiotic use… were associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma.” C-section delivery and maternal GBS both significantly increased the risk, as well. The overall effects are cumulative, and the researchers concluded “early-life exposures, maternal UTI during pregnancy (maternal antibiotic use), mode of delivery, infant antibiotic use, and having older siblings at home, are associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma.” They also added “compared with in utero exposures, exposures occurring during infancy have a greater impact on the risk of developing childhood asthma.”

For more information and to view the article’s abstract click here.

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