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18-04-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Asthma severity during pregnancy linked to risk for small babies


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results suggest that increasing levels of asthma severity during pregnancy are associated with an increasing risk for small for gestational age (SGA) babies.

However, asthma severity was not associated with risk for low birth weight or premature babies, the researchers note.

Lucie Blais (Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada) and team investigated the association between maternal asthma severity during pregnancy and infant outcomes by studying data on 1274 women with the respiratory condition who gave birth in Quebec between 1990 and 2002.

Of these, 78.7% (n=1003) had mild, 14.8% (n=189) had moderate, and 6.4% (n=82) had severe asthma during pregnancy.

The researchers found that the prevalence of SGA babies was higher in women with severe and moderate asthma, at 19.5% and 17.4%, respectively, than in those with mild asthma, at 13.8%.

After accounting for factors such as maternal diabetes, maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy, and maternal weight at birth, the researchers found that women with moderate and severe asthma during pregnancy were 1.30 and 1.48 times, respectively, more likely to give birth to SGA babies (below the 10th percentile for gestational age and gender, using new Canadian standards) than those with mild asthma.

However, women with moderate and severe asthma were no more likely to give birth prematurely (before 37 weeks of gestation) or have low birth weight babies (lower than 2500 g) than those with mild disease.

Blais and team conclude in the journal Respiratory Medicine: “The results of this study provide evidence that moderate and severe asthma could result in a higher risk of SGA babies than mild asthma with no detectable impact on low birth weight and prematurity.”

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

By Mark Cowen

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