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Pregnancy anaemia may up asthma risk
[Posted: Sat 12/03/2011 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Iron deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of a child developing wheezing or asthma later on, the results of a new study indicate.
"Early childhood wheezing and asthma are on the rise. We found there is a link between anaemic pregnant women and their children's wheezing and asthma," the US researchers said.
They looked at 597 families and found that 12% of mothers had anaemia while pregnant. Among their children, 22% had a recurrent wheeze during the first year of life, while 17% had active asthma at the age of six.
Furthermore, they also found that the effects of anaemia on childhood respiratory health are even stronger and longer lasting in women who themselves have asthma.
"The message for mothers is, take your iron supplements and your baby may breathe easier," the researchers said.
They added that nutrition in pregnancy is an area of great interest.
"The results of this study highlight the need to further evaluate maternal nutritional status and the possible effects on the respiratory health of children."
However according to AIMS (Association for Improvement in Maternity Services) Ireland, the World Health Organisation (WHO) 'does not recommend routine supplementation for pregnant women due to known side-effects'. It added that supplements are only recommended if a woman's iron levels fall below a certain limit 'and even then, dietary changes to increase iron intake are considered ideal over supplements'.
Details of these findings are published in the journal, Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
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