HealthDay News — Antibiotic exposure in the second to third trimester of pregnancy is associated with childhood asthma for vaginally born children, according to a study published online February 9 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Cecilie Skaarup Uldbjerg, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a cohort study to examine whether antibiotic exposure during pregnancy was associated with parent-reported childhood asthma at 11 years. The study population included 32,651 children, of whom 17% were born to mothers exposed to antibiotics during pregnancy.

The researchers found that children born to exposed mothers had increased odds of asthma in adjusted analyses (odds ratio [OR], 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 1.24). Compared with no exposure, there was no association with antibiotic exposure in the first trimester (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.26), but the odds were increased with antibiotic exposure in the second to third trimester (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.28). The overall association between antibiotic exposure during pregnancy and childhood asthma was seen in vaginally born children (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.28) but not those born by cesarean section (ORs, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.66 to 1.37] and 0.96 [95% CI, 0.73 to 1.28] for planned and emergency cesarean section, respectively).

“The profligate use of antibiotics in pregnancy should be balanced against the increasing evidence on adverse long-term health outcomes in the offspring, as well as broader concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance,” the authors write.

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