Hello BreatheEasy Readers, we recently came upon an excellent July 8th article that described a recent study which connected the mental state of an expecting mother to the asthma risk in the child. The study found that women who experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy, may deliver children that have a higher risk of asthma.
The article can be found here: http://news.health.com/2011/07/08/anxiety-depression-in-pregnancy-may-raise-kids-asthma-risk/#more-47011
Here is the article:
Anxiety, Depression in Pregnancy May Raise Kids’ Asthma Risk
FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) — Children of women who experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy may be at greater risk for asthma, according to new research.
The study of 279 inner-city black and Hispanic women adds weight to research previously conducted among white families that found children are particularly susceptible to asthma-related risks during the prenatal period.
The findings are published in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
“Approximately 70 percent of mothers who said they experienced high levels of anxiety or depression while they were pregnant reported their child had wheezed before age 5,” study lead author Marilyn Reyes, a researcher at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York City, said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
“Understanding how maternal depression affects a child’s respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions,” Reyes added.
The research team said common asthma symptoms include:
Coughing, particularly during the night
Wheezing or whistling while breathing
Difficulty breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to sink in
Frequent chest colds
The study authors noted that children who experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis could have asthma and should see an allergist.
“The symptoms of pediatric asthma can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies,” allergist Dr. Rachel Miller, study senior author, said in the news release. “With the right treatment, your child can sleep through the night, avoid missing time from day care or preschool, and breathe easy.”
– Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, July 5, 2011
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We find this especially relevant to BreatheEasy and the Northern CA Breathmobile because this study was conducted on inner-city, women of color- which is our largest demographic. We see expecting mothers on the Breathmobile, and their asthmatic children, so it is important to do all you can to make sure your next child does not have asthma.
Although we are sure there are doctors who would disagree with the findings of this study (there are afterall many factors that contribute to the development of asthma in people) but nonetheless, we know that high stress levels especially in inner-cities contribute to the high rates of asthma. In the East Bay Area, high crime rates, long hours, illiteracy- are all environmental factors that contribute to the high rates of asthma.
Here are some tips we found at http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/depressionduringpregnancy.html
“With the controversy regarding the use of some antidepressants during pregnancy, many women are interested in other ways to help treat depression. As mentioned above, support groups, psychotherapy and light therapy are alternatives to using medication to treat mild to moderate depression. In addition to these, you may want to talk with your health care providers about some of the other natural ways to help relieve the symptoms of depression.
- Exercise--Exercise naturally increases serotonin levels and decreases cortisol levels.
- Get adequate rest--Lack of sleep greatly affects the body and mind’s ability to handle stress and day to day challenges. Work on establishing a routine sleep schedule that has you going to sleep and getting up at the same time.
- Diet and Nutrition--Many foods have been linked to mood changes, the ability to handle stress and mental clarity. Diets high in caffeine, sugar, processed carbohydrates, artificial additives and low protein can all lead to issues regarding your mental and physical health. Make a conscious decision to start fueling your body with the foods that can help you feel better.
- Acupuncture-New studies report acupuncture to be a viable option in treating depression in pregnant women.
- Omega-3 fatty acids--For years its been know that omega-3 can help with a number of health issues, but the newest studies are showing that taking a daily supplement of omega-3/ fish oils can decrease symptoms of depression. Pregnant women would want to make sure to take a mercury free version of fish oil and check with their care provider or nutritionist on a recommended amount.
- Herbal remedies—There are a number of herbal and vitamin supplements known to affect moods and the hormone serotonin. Talk with your health care provider and nutritionist/ herbalist about the options of using St John’s Wort, SAM-e, 5-HTP, magnesium, vitamin B6 and flower remedies. Many of these can not be used in conjunction with antidepressants and should be evaluated on the dosage for pregnant women. “
Expecting mothers should remember that everything they do and feel, the baby feels. So if you are feeling depressed or stressed out, consult your doctor and find ways to cope, to not put stress on the child. If you breathe easy…so will your baby.
Here is a video for you:
Here is another article for you on Anxiety and Pregnancy:
An excerpt for you:
“One treatment evaluated by researchers from China is music therapy. They explored whether this approach could relieve anxiety in pregnant women confined to bed. They recruited 120 women and gave them music therapy for 30 minutes on three consecutive days.
Anxiety levels fell significantly in this group, compared to another group given usual healthcare. “Carefully selected music that incorporates a patient’s own preferences may offer an inexpensive and effective method to reduce anxiety for pregnant women with high risk pregnancies who are on bedrest,” the researchers conclude.”
What do you think of alternative therapies such as music therapy BreatheEasy readers?
Speaking of music therapy….