Link found between size of foetuses and development of asthma

A research team from the University of Aberdeen has found that there is a link between the size of a foetus and later development of asthma. In a paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, they described how babies who were 10 per cent shorter than the average size at the 10-week stage of foetal development were five times as likely to develop the condition.

The study, which involved 1,500 pregnant women, also found links with the development of eczema and hayfever. Foetuses were measured at the 10- and 20-week stages and then a follow-up was carried out when the children were 10.

Dr Steve Turner, clinical senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen’s department of child health, who led the study, said:

“Our main finding was that the shortest foetuses in the first trimester were at increased risk for persistent wheeze whereas the longest babies had better lung function at 10 years.

“We also found that changes in the expected growth rate were associated with altered risk for eczema and hayfever. In other words, initial foetal size and subsequent growth trajectory are important to respiratory and allergic outcomes in childhood.”

Often, children will grow out of asthma, but in the meantime, there are measures which can be taken, including the use of dehumidifiers and air purifiers. Many of these devices will operate very quietly and as they filter airborne particles – including pollen, dust, house dust mite waste and pet dander, all of which can be allergens – your child will be able to sleep more easily and will be less likely to suffer an asthma attack.

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