Female foetus could increase expectant woman's asthma
Feb 3, 2006, 15:38

Asthmatic women pregnant with girls are more likely to experience severe asthma symptoms than those carrying a male foetus, says a study.

Michael B. Bracken and other researchers at Yale School of Medicine studied 702 pregnant women throughout southern New England who were trained to assess their lung function for 10-day intervals at selected points in pregnancy.

Lung function and a number of other factors that might influence severity of the mother's asthma were recorded automatically, reported science portal EurekAlert.

Asthma worsened in mothers with either male or female foetuses until about 30 weeks gestation, after which there was an improvement in lung function. However, throughout pregnancy, mothers with a male foetus had 10 percent better lung function.

"However, this difference due to sex is potentially important but needs to be placed in the context of other factors which have a greater impact on the severity of the mother's asthma, including inadequate medical management of asthma symptoms, and whether the mother was a smoker or not," an expert said.

The finding, published in the February issue of American Journal of Epidemiology, is one of the first and largest studies to investigate the effect of foetal sex on the severity of the mother's asthma, and one of the largest to investigate the effect of foetal sex on any disease of the mother, it said.

Asthma is one of the most common diseases associated with pregnancy. An upcoming study by the authors to be published this spring shows that eight to nine percent of pregnant women have a history of asthma.

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