(HealthDay News) − Maternal exposure to tobacco smoke during the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with a significantly increased prevalence of atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) in infants.
Miwa Shinohara, MD, PhD, from the National Shimosizu Hospital in Yotsukaido-City, Japan, and colleagues investigated whether the different periods of maternal tobacco smoke exposure had different effects on the development of AEDS in 1,436 infants aged 2−18 months. Self-completed questionnaires were used to assess family history of allergic diseases, number of older siblings, prenatal and postnatal tobacco smoke exposure, and development of physician-diagnosed AEDS.
The researchers found that infants with exposure to tobacco smoke during the third trimester of pregnancy had significantly increased prevalence of AEDS, compared with those not exposed to tobacco smoke (adjusted odds ratio, 6.146). Exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy, and during or after the first six months of life, was not associated with any significant difference in the prevalence of AEDS.
“Tobacco smoke exposure during the third trimester seems to affect the development of the immune system in the offspring, which in turn facilitates development of eczema after birth,” a co-author said in a statement. “This also raises questions of whether or not tobacco smoke exposure may affect the innate immune responses of the skin.”