Excess weight before pregnancy linked to childhood asthma

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If you are planning pregnancy, there are two things that are important for your child’s respiratory health: not being overweight before you conceive and avoidance of tobacco smoke. New findings show excess weight before pregnancy quadruples the chances of wheezing and asthma in children beyond the first year of life.

Researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) explain wheezing – a symptom of asthma - is more frequent in offspring of women who are overweight before conceiving, in findings published in the journal 'Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology'.

Compared to mothers of normal weight, risk of wheezing was four times higher for children born to overweight women.

For the study, researchers looked at data from 1107 women and their children from a Spanish study on infancy and environment known as the INMA project, confirming the finding that too much weight before pregnancy – regardless of mom’s smoking status – could be a risk for developing asthma.

The finding highlights a risk factor for childhood health from excess weight before pregnancy.

Healthy weight before and during pregnancy both important

Being during pregnancy can have health risks including miscarriage, stillbirth, preeclampsia from high blood sugar and gestational diabetes. Your baby can suffer from birth defects, being born prematurely and obesity during childhood.

The finding is another reason to make sure you are at a healthy weight before deciding to become pregnant. There are other known risks to being overweight during pregnancy.  Asthma is on the rise. The study suggests being overweight before pregnancy can raise your child’s risk of wheezing in the first 14 months after being born.