Lena Lewis

Relationship Between Maternal Weight and Child Respiratory Problems

Author: Lena Lewis (public health)

Faculty mentor: Suzanne Baker

Abstract

The effects of maternal overweight or obesity during pregnancy on the health of the mother have been studied extensively but the effects on the child are widely unknown. A potential consequence that gestational weight gain, overweight, or obesity will have on child health is poor respiratory outcomes. In this study, the extent of maternal overweight or obesity during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for poor child respiratory outcomes was investigated through a literature review of 15 research articles. It was hypothesized that, as maternal weight increases, the likelihood of the offspring developing poor respiratory outcomes will also increase. The results demonstrate that high prepregnancy weight, pregnancy weight, and weight gain during pregnancy are positively associated with poor child respiratory outcomes including child wheeze, child asthma, and child bronchitis. These results remained consistent across all articles and some suggested that there is a threshold at which maternal weight gain becomes a risk factor for poor child respiratory outcomes. Child asthma was the most common child respiratory outcome that was investigated, which merits the need for further research into other types of child respiratory conditions. The findings suggest the need for the update of recommendations to pregnant women with regards to how weight gain during pregnancy will affect the health of their child. These updates should be geared directly towards pregnant women as well as healthcare professionals that provide care to pregnant women.

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Lena Lewis: Relationship Between Maternal Weight and Child Respiratory Problems

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