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Stress before pregnancy may lead to eczema in infants

New Delhi: A new research has revealed pre-pregnancy stress can lead to eczema in newborns.

The study from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, is the first to link preconception maternal stress to the risk of atopic eczema in the child.

The researchers believe the findings support the concept that eczema partly originates as a baby develops in the womb and could reveal ways of reducing the risk of the skin condition.

The research, published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy, assessed the stress levels of women recruited to the Southampton Women`s Survey before they were pregnant.

They were asked to report how stressed they were in their daily lives. A sub-group was asked about their psychological wellbeing.

Around 3,000 babies, born into the Survey, were then assessed for eczema at ages six and 12 months.Dr Sarah El-Heis, the study`s lead researcher from the University of Southampton, comments, “We know that maternal stress can release certain hormones that can have an effect on the baby`s immune response, leading to an increased risk in conditions like eczema.”

“More than one in six women of the mothers in the Southampton Women`s Survey reported that stress affected their health `quite a lot` or `extremely` – our analyses showed that their infants had a 20 percent higher likelihood of developing atopic eczema at age 12 months when compared with the remainder of the study cohort.