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Colds During Pregnancy May Boost Children's Asthma Risk

Update Date: Feb 03, 2014 05:33 PM EST

Common colds during pregnancy may increase children's risk of asthma, according to a new study.

Researchers found that a mother's infections and bacterial exposure during pregnancy influence the in utero environment, which can increase a baby's risk of developing allergy and asthma in childhood.

"In addition, these same children that had early exposure to allergens, such as house dust and pet dander, had increased odds of becoming sensitized by age five," allergist Mitch Grayson, MD, Annals deputy editor and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), said in a news release. "When dust mites from the mother and child's mattresses were examined, children with high dust mite exposure yet low bacteria exposure were more likely to be allergic to dust mites than those with low mite exposure and high bacteria contact."

The study involved 513 pregnant women in Germany, and their 526 children. Mothers completed questionnaires during pregnancy, when children were three and 12 months old and every year up to five-years-old.

"We know that allergy and asthma can develop in the womb since genetics play a factor in both diseases," allergist Dr. Michael Foggs, president of ACAAI, said in a news release. "But this study sheds light about how a mother's environment during pregnancy can begin affecting the child before birth."

The findings are published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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