Skip to main content

11-11-2010 | Psoriasis | Article

Severe maternal psoriasis increases low birthweight infant risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Women with severe psoriasis appear to have an increased risk for having low birthweight (LBW) babies, researchers report.

They found that women with severe psoriasis, defined as receiving photochemotherapy or systemic therapy within 2 years before giving birth, were 1.4 times as likely to give birth to a LBW baby than women without psoriasis.

Herng-Ching Lin and colleagues from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, suggest that the increase in cytokines associated with psoriasis "may have detrimental effects on the maternal placenta and could thus lead to impaired fetal growth and LBW infants."

They add: "Both dermatologists and obstetricians should be aware of the possibility of adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes in psoriatic pregnant women, especially those whose condition is severe."

The study involved 1463 mothers with psoriasis, of whom 645 (44.1%) had severe psoriasis and 11,704 who were free of the condition.

In all, 51 (7.9%) mothers with severe psoriasis gave birth to LBW infants, compared with 667 (5.7%) mothers without the skin condition, giving an odds ratio of 1.42 after adjusting for mother, father, and infant characteristics.

Mothers with mild psoriasis were no more likely than mothers without psoriasis to give birth to LBW infants, however, at rates of 5.7% and 6.1%, respectively..

Neither severe nor mild psoriasis was associated with preterm birth, the need for cesarean section, having a small for gestational age infant, pre-eclampsia, or eclampsia.

The researchers note in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that mothers with severe psoriasis who received systemic therapy were not at increased risk for having LBW babies, suggesting that the risk for LBW babies is associated with disease itself.

They conclude: "We find in this study that pregnant women with severe psoriasis, like other T-helper autoimmune diseases, were at increased risk of having LBW infants, whereas those with mild psoriasis did not have an excess risk of adverse birth outcomes."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lucy Piper

Related topics