The Southampton Women’s Survey has found new evidence that foetal and infant growth is associated with the risk for eczema at 6 months.
The study showed that shorter femur length, smaller abdominal circumference and higher head-to-abdominal circumference ratio at 34 weeks’ gestation were associated with increased risks for eczema at age 6 months. The odds ratios for eczema per standard deviation (OR/SD) increase were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69-0.96; P=.017), 0.78 (95% CI, 0.65-0.93; P=.006) and 1.37 (95% CI, 1.15-1.63; P=.001), respectively.
Lower velocity of linear growth from 11 weeks’ gestation to birth was associated with eczema age 6 months (OR/SD, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.65-0.98; P=.034). Infants with atopic eczema at the age of 12 months had a larger head circumference in early gestation and slowed abdominal growth velocity from 19 to 34 weeks’ gestation (OR/SD, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.51-0.88; P=.003).
Infants whose mothers had higher levels of nicotinamide during pregnancy had a lower risk for eczema at age 12 months (OR/SD, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.53-0.91; P=.007).
Maternal preconception perceived stress affecting health (OR/SD, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.08-1.35; P=.001) and stress in daily living (OR/SD, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.03-1.30; P=.014) were associated with an increased risk for infantile atopic eczema at aged 12 months.
Presenting the data at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Meeting in Edinburgh earlier this month, the authors said the findings provide new evidence that atopic eczema partly originates during prenatal development. They suggest interventions to optimise maternal health beginning prior to conception could ultimately reduce the risk for infantile atopic eczema.