Background: Little is known about perinatal risk factors and coeliac disease.
Aim: To investigate the relationship between perinatal risk factors and subsequent coeliac disease among offspring.
Methods: Record linked abstracts of birth registrations, maternity, in-patient and day case records in a defined population of southern England.
Results: Using univariate analysis, coeliac disease in the child was associated with maternal coeliac disease (odds ratio = 20.6; 95% CI = 5.04-84.0; based on two cases in both mother and child) and with social class, year of birth, maternal smoking and parity. Multivariate analysis confirmed an increased risk of coeliac disease of 3.79 (95% CI = 1.85-7.79) for classes IV and V compared with I and II, an increased risk of 1.92 (1.06-3.49) for births during 1975-1979 compared with 1970-1974 and an increased risk of 1.80 (1.05-3.09) for 'subsequent' compared with 'first' births. Smoking during pregnancy was no longer associated with coeliac disease. Because numbers were small, maternal coeliac disease was excluded from the multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: This study shows increased risks of coeliac disease for manual social classes, births during the late 1970s and 'subsequent' births. Overall, perinatal risk factors seem to have a limited role in the aetiology of coeliac disease in children and young adults.