Effect of Maternal Sleep, Physical Activity and Screen Time during Pregnancy on the Risk of Childhood Respiratory Allergies: a Gender-specific Study
Background: Early life exposure in the uterus had long-term effect on children's health. As the prevalence of allergies is increasing with a remarkable gender difference, very few studies have traced back to their early origins. We sought to investigate if maternal behavioral exposure, herein sleep, physical activity and screen time during pregnancy, is associated childhood respiratory allergies. The gender difference would be examined. Methods: 6236 mother-child pairs from Shanghai Children
... hanghai Children Allergy Study (SCAS) were enrolled. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire was adopted to evaluate respiratory allergic diseases. Results: 14.6%, 16.2% and 21.0% of children had asthma, wheeze, and allergic rhinitis, respectively. Maternal short sleep duration, lack of physical activity and too much screen exposure during pregnancy could increase the risk of childhood respiratory allergies. Moreover, a dose-response trend was clearly shown. However, the significance was found only in boys, any two of the three combined could increase the risk (OR,1.915; 95%CI,1.212-3.024), and the coexistence of all three further amplified the risk (OR,2.406; 95%CI,1.485-3.900). The findings can be verified in allergen test subgroup and single type of respiratory allergies in most cases. And gender difference was identified, all above associations were mainly observed in boys. Conclusions: Maternal unhealthy behaviors during pregnancy could increase the risk of childhood respiratory allergies with a dose-response pattern. Boys were more susceptible to the association. The identification of modifiable maternal risk behaviors lies in the emphasis of intervention in early life to face up increasing childhood allergies.