Does Prenatal Depression Lead to Children's Asthma?

Filed under: In The News, Pregnancy Health, Research Reveals

asthma

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Not to bum you out even more, but if you're pregnant and depressed, you're increasing your unborn child's risk of having asthma.

"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," researcher Marilyn Reyes of Columbia University says in a press release. "Understanding how maternal depression affects a child's respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions."

In the study, published in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, researchers studied the link between depressed mothers and wheezing children in low-income, urban environments. Turns out no one breathes easy when Mama is depressed.

"Prior research has linked maternal prenatal and postnatal mental health with the subsequent development of asthma in children," the authors write. "However, this relationship has not been examined in inner-city African Americans and Hispanics, populations at high risk for asthma."

Researchers focused on 279 pregnant African-American and Dominican women ages 18 to 35 in the Bronx and northern Manhattan areas of New York City.

"In this inner-city cohort, prenatal demoralization was associated with transient and persistent wheeze," the authors write. "Understanding how maternal demoralization influences children's respiratory health may be important for developing effective interventions among disadvantaged populations."

In other words, cheer up. This study could ultimately lead to ways help easy prenatal depression and help kids breathe a little easier.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.