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Study to find if gender of fetus influences mother's asthma, other conditions

Study if fetus gender influences asthma, other conditions (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Expecting moms with chronic conditions like asthma and allergies could benefit from new research on maternal immune response. A study shows such conditions will act up during pregnancy depending on the sex of the baby.

Melissa Fox beams at her baby girl, Wren. She wonders if one day she'll struggle with seasonal allergies and asthma.

Melissa grew up with both. "I had terrible allergies as a child growing up to the point where I had to get injections."

Her allergies returned with a vengeance during her pregnancy with Wren. "I actually had an increase in my allergies during the normal allergy season they flared up so badly I was having to take something every day."

Something she didn't see while pregnant with Wren's big brother, Falcon. "I barely had to take anything."

Melissa was among 80 women in a study of primarily healthy pregnant women. "I believe I was about 18 weeks or so along."

Researcher Amanda Mitchell says part it reviewed immune cells when exposed to bacteria during women's 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters. "Women carrying a baby girl when exposed to some sort of immune challenge exhibited a greater inflammatory response than women carrying a baby boy."

Like what melissa experienced while carrying Wren. "I had more issue with shortness of breath which I though it was flaring up my asthma a little bit."

Mitchell says inflammation is critical for immune response in wound healing and reaction to viruses but excessive inflammation is stressful to the body.

A repeat study would be needed to help doctors care for pregnant women in the future. "But then only within a population of women who have asthma and that way we can say okay is it that inflammation really higher in the women with baby girls who have asthma."

Right now, Melissa's main focus is the health of her two little ones. "As a mother all you want is for your child to be healthy and happy so I think it'll be good though to be aware of those things."

Future studies would also be needed to see how the findings relate to the health of an unborn child.

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