(HealthDay News) — Maternal obesity in pregnancy (MOP) and high maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) are associated with an elevated risk of childhood asthma, according to a review published online July 21 in Pediatrics.

Erick Forno, MD, MPH, from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify observational studies assessing MOP or increased maternal GWG and the risk of asthma in offspring.

The researchers identified 14 studies (including 108,321 mother-child pairs). There were higher odds of asthma or wheeze ever (odds ratio [OR], 1.31) or currently (OR, 1.21) associated with MOP. Each 1kg/m² increase in maternal body mass index was associated with a 2–3% increase in the odds of childhood asthma. There were also higher odds of asthma or wheeze ever associated with high GWG (OR, 1.16). There was no association between maternal underweight and low GWG and childhood asthma or wheeze. Maternal asthma history showed a negative association of borderline significance in meta-regression (P=0.07). There was significant heterogeneity among existing studies.

“This finding may be particularly significant for mothers without asthma history,” the authors write.

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