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Mom’s waistline BEFORE pregnancy could decide if child develops allergies

Children born to obese mothers before pregnancy had an eight percent higher risk of developing asthma

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By Tom Campbell via SWNS

A mother’s waistline BEFORE getting pregnant could decide whether her child develops allergies, according to a new study.

Babies born to mothers who were already overweight or obese face a higher risk of developing asthma, say scientists.

Allergies are one of the most common ailments, affecting around 20 per cent of the population, with an even greater prevalence among children.

It may be ‘no big deal’ for those with mild symptoms like watery eyes or a runny nose, but in more severe cases, allergies can be a daily struggle or even deadly.

Childhood hospitalizations for food allergy tripled between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s in the US, according to

Now, scientists at the University of Ottawa in Canada have found a mother’s weight before pregnancy could be part of the explanation.


Study author Sebastian Srugo said: “Studies suggest maternal weight and weight gain during pregnancy may influence foetal immunological development.

“However, their role in the aetiology of allergic disease is unclear.”

Many mothers are overweight or obese when they decide to get pregnant, and then put on more weight.

The researchers studied a quarter of a million children - 248,017, in Ontario, Canada over a seven-year period.

Around half of these children were born to overweight or obese mothers, while a third of moms put on the pounds during pregnancy.

No link was discovered between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and the child’s allergies.

But children born to obese mothers before pregnancy had an eight percent higher risk of developing asthma.

pregnant woman sitting on fit ball with hand on her back, isolated
A mom's BMI should be considered when examining allergies in children, researchers say. (Shutterstock)

Being underweight also increased the baby’s chances of suffering from skin irritations like eczema, the researchers found.

Trends in allergy-related diseases have reached epidemic proportions, becoming the most common chronic condition.

A mother’s body mass index should therefore be considered when examining allergies in children, the researchers say.

A healthy BMI is generally considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9, while over 25 is labelled as overweight and over 30 obese.

Srugo, a graduate student, added: “Interventions to promote normal pre-pregnancy BMI may, therefore, be an important and cost-effective upstream target to ease the epidemic trends of allergic diseases in childhood.

“Future work should aim to assess the impact of maternal and paternal health behaviours before, during and after pregnancy on this relationship.”

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