Background: Maternal psychological distress during pregnancy might affect fetal lung development and subsequently predispose children to childhood asthma. Objective: We sought to assess the associations of maternal psychological distress during pregnancy with early childhood wheezing. Methods: We performed a population-based prospective cohort study among 4848 children. We assessed maternal and paternal psychological distress at the second trimester of gestation and 3 years after delivery and maternal psychological distress at 2 and 6 months after delivery by using the Brief Symptom Inventory questionnaire. Wheezing in the children was annually examined by using questionnaires from 1 to 4 years. Physician-diagnosed ever asthma was reported at 6 years. Results: Mothers with psychological distress during pregnancy had increased odds of wheezing in their children from 1 to 4 years of life (overall distress: odds ratio [OR], 1.60 [95% CI, 1.32-1.93]; depression: OR, 1.46 [95% CI, 1.20-1.77]; and anxiety: OR, 1.39 [95% CI, 1.15-1.67]). We observed similar positive associations with the number of wheezing episodes, wheezing patterns, and physician-diagnosed asthma at 6 years. Paternal distress during pregnancy and maternal and paternal distress after delivery did not affect these results and were not associated with childhood wheezing. Conclusion: Maternal psychological distress during pregnancy is associated with increased odds of wheezing in their children during the first 6 years of life independent of paternal psychological distress during pregnancy and maternal and paternal psychological distress after delivery. These results suggest a possible intrauterine programming effect of maternal psychological distress leading to respiratory morbidity.

Anxiety, asthma, child, child development, cohort studies, depression, preschool, prospective studies, psychological, stress
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.04.044, hdl.handle.net/1765/65165
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/229571 - Respiratory Science Promoted by International Research Exchanges (RESPIRE), This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/241504 - European large-scale functional genomics in the rat for translational research (EURATRANS)
Pediatric Psychiatry

Guxens Junyent, M, van der Sonnenschein-Voort, A.M.M, Tiemeier, H.W, Hofman, A, Sunyer, J, de Jongste, J.C, … Duijts, L. (2014). Parental psychological distress during pregnancy and wheezing in preschool children: The Generation R Study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133(1). doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.04.044