Pregnancy Stress Ups Kid's Asthma Risk

Babies' immune systems respond to pressures on moms
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 4:12 PM CDT
Asthma inhalers by Symbicort are seen in this undated file photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Stress an expectant mother experiences can increase her child’s predisposition to allergies and asthma, Reuters reports. Mothers-to-be with high stress levels gave birth to babies with high levels of an immune compound involved in the allergenic response, Harvard researchers found—even when their environmental exposure to allergens was low.

"This further supports the notion that stress can be thought of as a 'social pollutant' that, when 'breathed' into the body, may influence the body's immune response," said the lead researcher.