Association Between Maternal Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass Index, Gestational Weight Gain, and Offspring Atopic Dermatitis: A Prospective Cohort Study

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019 Jan;7(1):96-102.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2018.10.044. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background: Maternal weight status may contribute to the development of atopic disorders in children.

Objective: The objective of this study was to assess associations of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) with risk of atopic dermatitis (AD) in children.

Methods: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and GWG were assessed by questionnaire through the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), a prospective cohort study of US children. Mothers reported whether GUTS participants had ever been diagnosed with AD by a clinician in either 1997 or 1999, when GUTS participants were between 10 and 17 years old. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the association of BMI and GWG with AD in offspring (expressed as odds ratios [ORs] with 95% CIs).

Results: Among 13,269 GUTS participants, 2,058 (16%) had childhood AD. Higher maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was not associated with AD (P trend = .48). In contrast, GWG was associated with increased AD risk (P trend = .005). Compared with children of mothers who gained 25 to 34 lb, children of mothers who gained 35 to 44 lb (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.98-1.26) and 45 lb or more (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.05-1.43) had an increased risk of AD. These associations appeared stronger with pre-pregnancy BMI greater than 25 (GWG, 35-44 lb: OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.84-1.69; GWG, ≥45 lb: OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.07-2.31), but the statstical interaction between BMI and GWG was not significant.

Conclusions: In this study, increased GWG was associated with increased risk of AD in offspring. This supports existing evidence that prenatal exposures contribute to the development of atopic disorders.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Gestational weight gain; Maternal BMI; Perinatal; Pregnancy; Weight status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Weight Gain
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Obesity, Maternal / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult