Pregnancy Anemia Linked to Childhood Wheezing and Asthma

Article ID: 574267

Released: 10-Mar-2011 1:30 PM EST

Source Newsroom: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)

Iron supplements reduce risk, allergists say

Newswise — ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Need a reason to take your iron supplements? Iron deficiency during pregnancy may directly impact infant and childhood breathing health according to a study recently published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“Early childhood wheezing and asthma are on the rise,” said Elizabeth Triche, PhD, lead author of the study. “We found there is a link between anemic pregnant women and their children’s wheezing and asthma.”

The study of 597 families who had previously participated in the Asthma in Pregnancy (AIP) Study, found 12 percent of mothers had anemia while pregnant. Among their children, 22 percent had recurrent wheeze in the first year of life and 17 percent had active asthma at age six.

“The message for moms is, take your iron supplements and your baby may breathe easier,” said allergist Paige Wickner, MD, co-author of the study and member of ACAAI. “We found that the effects of anemia on childhood respiratory health are even stronger and longer-lasting for women with asthma who have anemia while pregnant.”

Asthma is the most common potentially serious medical condition to complicate pregnancy. About 8 percent of women in their childbearing years have asthma. Learn more on asthma and pregnancy and listen to the new pregnancy podcast at

In the U.S., 9 percent of the general pregnant population – and up to 27 percent of low-income minority pregnant women – have anemia. Up to 95 percent of anemia in pregnancy is caused by iron deficiency.

“Nutrition in pregnancy is an area of great interest,” said Lisbet Lundsberg, PhD, also a co-author. “The results of this study highlight the need to further evaluate maternal nutritional status and the possible effects on the respiratory health of children.”

About ACAAIThe ACAAI is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.

Consumers can take a simple online test to gauge their asthma symptoms, obtain a personalized plan on how to get relief and find an allergist at


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