Background: There is increasing interest in the possible link between maternal hypothyroidism in the perinatal period and childhood asthma risk. We explored this in this study while accounting for the timing of hypothyroidism diagnosis. Further, we evaluated whether the risk was moderated by thyroid hormone treatment during pregnancy.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study using Danish national registers. All live-born singletons in Denmark from 1998 to 2007 were identified. Maternal hypothyroidism and asthma in the children were defined by data from the Patient Register and Prescription Registry. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of asthma among children born to hypothyroid mothers versus children born to mothers with no recorded thyroid dysfunction using Poisson regression models.
Results: Of 595 669 children, 3524 children were born to mothers with hypothyroidism diagnosed before delivery and 4664 diagnosed after delivery. Overall, 48 990 children received treatment for asthma. The IRRs of asthma was 1.16 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.30) and 1.12 (95% CI: 1.02-1.24) for children born to mothers with hypothyroidism diagnosed before and after delivery, compared to children born to mothers with no thyroid dysfunction. The highest risk was observed among children born to mothers with hypothyroidism diagnosed before delivery who did not receive thyroid hormone treatment during pregnancy (IRR=1.37, 95% CI: 1.04-1.80).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that maternal hypothyroidism, especially when it is untreated, increases childhood asthma risk. Early detection and appropriate treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnant women may be an area for possible prevention of childhood asthma.
Keywords: asthma; childhood; cohort study; hypothyroidism; perinatal.
© 2017 EAACI and John Wiley and Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.