Early pregnancy in spring linked to child's susceptibility to food allergies

October 19, 2010

A child's likelihood of developing food allergies can be traced back to the season during which s/he completes their first three months of life in the womb, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The Finnish researchers base their findings on just under 6000 children, all of whom were born between 2001 and 2006 and lived in one area of Finland.

Out of the total, just under 1000 were tested for sensitisation to food allergens between the ages of 0 and 4 years, with the likelihood of a positive test result rising sharply during the first year of life.

Up to the age of 4, the incidence of an allergic response to certain foods varied according to season of birth, ranging from 5% for children born in June/July to 9.5% for those born in October/November.

Around one in 10 (11%) children, whose 11th week of development in the womb had occurred during April or May were sensitised to food allergens. This compared with a rate of 6% among children who reached that stage of fetal development in December/January.

Readings of ambient pollen for the years in question showed that levels of birch and alder pollen peaked during April and May.

When narrowed down to specific allergens, the results indicated that a child whose first three months of fetal development ended in April or May was three times more likely to be sensitised to milk and eggs than those who reached this stage of development in November or December.

Research already indicates that children born in autumn or winter are more prone to eczema and wheeze, and that they have higher levels of circulating antibodies to allergens than children born in spring or summer, say the authors.

This might be because the fetus begins to produce antibodies to allergens at around the 11th week of development, and antibodies to specific allergens by around 24 weeks, they suggest.

An allergic type response is thought to be necessary for the pregnancy to continue, and in some cases this persists after birth. But the timing of the development of sensitisation has been the subject of heated debate.


Related Pregnancy Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 has a prolonged effect for many during pregnancy
Symptoms for pregnant women with COVID-19 can be prolonged, lasting two months or longer for a quarter of the women who participated in a national study led by UC San Francisco and UCLA.

Relaxed through pregnancy
A group of researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been able to show that maternal psychological wellbeing during pregnancy has a positive effect on newborn infants.

Trajectories of antidepressant medication use during pregnancy
In an analysis of women who started pregnancy when taking antidepressant medications, investigators identified three trajectories of antidepressant dispensing during pregnancy: more than half stopped their treatment, a quarter maintained their treatment throughout pregnancy, and one-fifth discontinued it for a minimum of three months and then resumed it during the postpartum period.

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.

Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.

Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.

The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.

Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.

Read More: Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.