Obesity In Women Before Pregnancy Might Increase Risk Of Asthma In Their Children, New Research Shows

Obesity and asthma

Obese women are more likely to have asthmatic children.

An article published in The New York Times states that when women who are over-weight or obese become pregnant, they are more likely to have children who might develop Asthma as teenagers.

These findings are additions to a number of other complications such as increased risk of stillbirths, preterm deliveries and gestational hypertension, that occur commonly in women who are obese before pregnancy.

The new study by a team of researchers from England and Finland explored whether the increase in obesity trend might have played a role in the rising prevalence of asthma, since 1970. The lead authors of the study are Swatee Patel and Alina Rodriguez.

Research and Results

  • Researchers focused on a group of about 7,000 teenagers born in northern Finland.
  • Mothers of these children were questioned about their lifestyles and backgrounds.
  • Health history of both parents, including medical records dating back to the time before mothers became pregnant, were collected.
  • Number of potentially complicating factors, like history of parental smoking or asthma, were studied.
  • Researchers found that teenagers whose mothers had been obese just before they became pregnant were 20 to 30 percent more likely to have asthma or history of wheezing.
  • The teenagers whose mothers were heaviest at the time of pregnancy were at 50 percent more risk of severe wheezing.
  • Researchers pointed out to previous research which indicated that being over-weight during pregnancy can throw a woman’s metabolic, hormonal and ovarian activity into turmoil, which can disrupt normal development of fetus.
  • Higher body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy can also set off a spike in levels of leptin, a hormone that binds to the receptors in the fetal lungs and prove critical to lung development in the womb.


About 37% of teenagers show symptoms of asthma, worldwide. The researchers concluded that if mother’s weight during pregnancy is responsible for the above, then stepping up public health efforts to reduce obesity might help to reduce the number of new asthma cases among children. Moreover, they were even able to infer that increased asthma and increase in obesity are interrelated.

The study has since been was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Listed below are a few clinical trials investigating new treatments for Asthma.
[LIST_TRIALS condition=”asthma”]

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