Background Although maternal psychological distress during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of respiratory morbidity in preschool children, it is unknown whether this association persists into later childhood. Objective To examine the association between parental psychological distress during pregnancy and lung function and asthma in children of school age. Methods This study of 4231 children was embedded in a population-based prospective cohort. Parental psychological distress was assessed by the Brief Symptom Inventory during and 3 years after pregnancy, and in mothers also at 2 and 6 months after pregnancy. At age 10 years, lung function was obtained by spirometry and asthma by questionnaire. Results The prevalence of asthma was 5.9%. Maternal overall psychological distress during pregnancy was associated with a lower forced vital capacity (FVC) (z-score difference −0.10 (95% CI −0.20 to –0.01) per 1-unit increase), maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy with a lower forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1 ) and FVC (−0.13 (95% CI −0.24 to –0.01) and −0.13 (95% CI −0.24 to –0.02) when using clinical cut-offs) in their children. All maternal psychological distress measures during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of asthma (range OR: 1.46 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.90) to 1.91 (95% CI 1.26 to 2.91)). Additional adjustment for paternal psychological distress during pregnancy and parental psychological distress after pregnancy did not materially change the associations. Paternal psychological distress during pregnancy was not associated with childhood respiratory morbidity. Conclusion Maternal, but not paternal, psychological distress during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of asthma and partly lower lung function in children. This suggests intrauterine programming for the risk of later-life respiratory disease.

doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2019-214099, hdl.handle.net/1765/132300
Thorax: an international journal of respiratory medicine
Department of Pediatrics

van Meel, E.R., Saharan, G., Jaddoe, V.W.V, de Jongste, J.C, Reiss, I.K.M, Tiemeier, H.W, … Duijts, L. (2020). Parental psychological distress during pregnancy and the risk of childhood lower lung function and asthma: a population-based prospective cohort study. Thorax: an international journal of respiratory medicine, 75(12), 1074–1081. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2019-214099