Wednesday November 13, 2019

Women with asthma more likely to have underweight babies

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Asthma
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London, Oct 5 : Women suffering from asthma are more prone to develop preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure – and run a higher risk of giving birth to underweight babies, says a new study.

Asthma is a common disease caused by chronic inflammation in the lungs with symptoms of coughing and breathlessness.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, suggests that well-controlled asthma during pregnancy could reduce the relative incidence of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

“We found that the risk of preeclampsia is 17 per cent higher in women with asthma compared to women without asthma,” said the study’s lead author Gustaf Rejno from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

The researchers used data from the Swedish birth registers and examined the link between asthma in pregnant women and the relative pregnancy and delivery outcomes.

After studying more than one million births to just over 700,000 women between 2001 and 2013, it was found that 10 per cent of the babies born had a mother suffering from asthma.

In addition, women with asthma were more likely to have underweight babies, instrumental deliveries, caesarean sections and shorter pregnancies.

In order to ascertain whether the complications could be attributed to hereditary or environmental factors, the researchers also identified the women’s asthma-free cousins and sisters who had given birth during the same period.

On comparing the groups they found that the correlations between maternal asthma and complications during pregnancy and delivery held.

“It seems to be the asthma per se that causes these complications,” Rejno said. (IANS)

Next Story

Simple, Low-Cost Way to Predict Preeclampsia

In Ghana, it's responsible for 18 per cent of maternal deaths, said Enoch Anto, the study researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia

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Preeclampsia, Maternal, Foetal
In developing nations, preeclampsia is a leading cause of death for both mothers and babies. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a simple, low-cost way to predict preeclampsia, one of the leading causes of maternal-foetal mortality worldwide.

Preeclampsia can cause devastating complications for women and babies, including brain and liver injury in mothers and premature birth.

“In developing nations, preeclampsia is a leading cause of death for both mothers and babies. In Ghana, it’s responsible for 18 per cent of maternal deaths,” said Enoch Anto, the study researcher from Edith Cowan University in Australia.

“But it can be treated using medication that lowers blood pressure once diagnosed,” Anto added.

Preeclampsia, Maternal, Foetal
Preeclampsia can cause devastating complications for women and babies, including brain and liver injury in mothers and premature birth. Pixabay

For the study published in the EPMA Journal, researchers assessed the health status of over 500 pregnant Ghanaian women using Suboptimal Health Questionnaire. Combining scores for fatigue, heart health, digestion, immunity and mental health, the questionnaire provides an overall “suboptimal health score” that can help predict chronic diseases.

The researchers found that 61 per cent of women who scored high on the questionnaire went on to develop preeclampsia, compared with just 17 per cent of women who scored low.

When these results were combined with blood tests that measured women’s calcium and magnesium levels, the researchers were able to accurately predict the development of preeclampsia in almost 80 per cent of cases.

According to the researchers, preeclampsia was very treatable once identified, so providing an early warning could save thousands of lives.

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“Both blood tests for magnesium and calcium and the Suboptimal Health Questionnaire are inexpensive, making this ideally suited to the developing world where preeclampsia causes the most suffering,” Anto said. (IANS)