Foetus size and growth linked to childhood asthma, allergies

 Foetus size and growth linked to childhood asthma, allergies London, June 29: Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have identified a correlation between the size and growth of a baby in the womb and the likelihood of the child going on to develop childhood asthma.

They also found links between the rate an unborn baby grows and his/her chances of developing allergic conditions such as eczema and hay fever during childhood.

The team took foetal measurements of 1,500 pregnant women at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital during their first and second trimesters, at 10 weeks, then at 20 weeks gestation, and followed up with the children when they were aged 10.

A total of 927 families filled in respiratory questionnaires for their child and 449 children underwent lung function and skin prick testing which looked for allergies to grass, eggs, dust mites and cats.

The results showed the children aged five and 10 who had asthma had been 5mm or 10 percent smaller than average as 10-week-old embryos.

The study revealed that an unborn baby smaller than the average foetus at 10 weeks and which remained small throughout pregnancy was five times more likely to develop childhood asthma.

The results showed that a foetus which started off bigger than average at 10 weeks, but whose growth slowed resulting in them becoming smaller than average at a later stage, were more likely to be protected against hay fever.

“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,” Scotsman. com quoted lead researcher Dr Steve Turner as saying. (ANI)