A University of Ottawa-led study of nearly 250,000 children in Ontario over seven years — the largest of its kind — found that a mother’s pre-pregnancy weight may affect their newborn’s risk of developing allergic diseases in early childhood, while weight gain during pregnancy did not appear to have the same effect.
Here are the key points from the study, led by Sebastian Srugo, who was a graduate student at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine:
No association was found between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and allergic disease in children. Children born to obese mothers during pregnancy were more likely to have asthma, but slightly less likely to have dermatitis and anaphylaxis. In particular, children born to obese mothers before pregnancy had an 8 percent higher risk of developing asthma. About half of the babies were born to overweight or obese mothers and a third to mothers who became overweight during pregnancy. Mothers enter the pregnancy with overweight/obesity, become overweight during pregnancy and many children develop an allergic disease in early childhood. In Canada, approximately 30% of the population suffers from at least one allergic disease, with an even greater prevalence in children. Worldwide trends in allergic diseases have reached epidemic proportions and have become the most common and earliest occurring group of chronic diseases.
Srugo, SA, et al. (2021) Investigating the role of pre-pregnancy weight and pregnancy weight gain in the development of allergic disease in offspring: a population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada’. Pediatric and perinatal epidemiology. doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12806.