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Review Article

Meta-analysis of antenatal infection and risk of asthma and eczema


Supplemental Digital Content is available in the textAbstractBackground:The influence of maternal infection during pregnancy on allergic disorders in offspring is not well understood. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate current evidence on the association between maternal infection during pregnancy and asthma or eczema in offspring.Methods:We searched databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, and Web of Science) for all relevant studies published before March 2016. Any cohort studies, case–control studies, or cross-sectional studies published in English and focused on the association between maternal infection during pregnancy and the risk of asthma or eczema in offspring were included. Random-effects models were used for combined analyses.Results:A total of 10 studies with 299,830 participants were included. Maternal infection was associated with an increased risk for asthma (odds ratio [OR]: 1.55; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24–1.92; P < 0.01) and eczema (OR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.13–1.64; P < 0.01). Further analyses showed associations between asthma and several specific maternal infections: fever episode (OR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.35–2.23), chorioamnionitis (OR: 1.42; 95% CI: 0.96–2.11), respiratory infection (OR: 1.49; 95% CI: 0.94–2.36), and urogenital infection (OR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.18–1.64).Conclusion:The results from this meta-analysis and systematic review provide evidence that maternal infection during pregnancy might be related to subsequent asthma and eczema in offspring. However, there was variation of included studies with regard to type of maternal infection, age of children, and methods of exposure ascertainment. Additional studies are needed to further confirm these associations.