Antioxidant intake in pregnancy in relation to wheeze and eczema in the first two years of life

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Jan 15;171(2):121-8. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200402-220OC. Epub 2004 Nov 5.


Two thousand women were recruited for a prospective investigation of the influence of maternal antioxidant intake in pregnancy on the development of asthma and eczema in children. A food frequency questionnaire was used to characterize diet during pregnancy and blood antioxidant levels were measured. Postal questionnaires were used to follow up the 1,924 singleton children born to the cohort at 6, 12, and 24 months of age. There were no associations between maternal antioxidant intake and wheezing symptoms and eczema in the children's first year. In the children's second year, maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy was negatively associated with wheeze in the absence of a "cold" (p for trend 0.010) and, in children whose mothers were atopic, there was a negative association between maternal vitamin E intake and childhood eczema (p for trend 0.024). Maternal vitamin C intake during pregnancy was positively associated with "ever wheeze" and eczema during the children's second year. This study suggests that maternal dietary antioxidant intakes during pregnancy may modify the risks of developing wheeze and eczema during early childhood. Further follow up of the cohort will determine whether maternal diet during pregnancy is associated with asthma and atopic disease in later childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants* / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vitamin E


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid