Stress during pregnancy, caused by events such as divorce, job loss, or the death of a loved one, has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and eczema in children. The researchers state that these study results may “allow clinicians to assess future risk of childhood asthma using a simple life event assessment questionnaire.”
Although doctors have drawn attention to the strong genetic components of asthma and comorbidities, they cannot explain the unprecedented rise in asthma and eczema in recent years.
During the same period that there has been an increase in cases of illness, stress levels have also been on the rise. But there was no evidence that stress was to blame.
The researchers studied the stories of more than 1,500 children and their mothers who took part in the Australian study. The original aim of the study was to determine the impact of intensive fetal monitoring on pregnancy outcomes.
Mothers were asked about life events at the beginning, in the middle and towards the end of pregnancy. Their children were tested for asthma, eczema and other allergic conditions.
Ultimately, the researchers found that the likelihood of having asthma or eczema was significantly higher among children whose mothers experienced stressful life events in the second half of pregnancy.