The role of maternal anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa before and during pregnancy in early childhood wheezing: Findings from the NINFEA birth cohort study
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Objective This study evaluates associations of maternal eating disorders (bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and purging behaviors) with infant wheezing and examines the effects of eating disorders on several wheezing determinants. Method We studied 5,150 singletons from the NINFEA birth cohort. Maternal bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa diagnoses were ascertained from the questionnaires completed in pregnancy and 6 months after delivery, and were analyzed as: ever diagnosis, only before pregnancy, and during pregnancy. Purging behaviors were assessed for 12 months before or during pregnancy. The associations with wheezing between 6 and 18 months of age were assessed in models adjusted for a priori selected confounders. Results Children born to mothers with lifetime eating disorders were at an increased risk of developing wheezing (adjusted OR 1.68; [95% CI: 1.08, 2.60]), and this risk further increased when the disorders were active during pregnancy (2.52 [1.23, 5.19]). Increased risk of offspring wheezing was observed also for purging behaviors without history of eating disorder diagnosis (1.50 [1.10, 2.04]). The observed associations were not explained by comorbid depression and/or anxiety. Bulimia nervosa and/or anorexia nervosa during pregnancy were also associated with several risk factors for wheezing, including maternal smoking, adverse pregnancy outcomes, shorter breastfeeding duration, and day?care attendance. Discussion The associations of maternal eating disorders with offspring wheezing suggest long?term adverse respiratory outcomes in children of mothers with eating disorders. A better understanding of mechanisms implicated is necessary to help reduce the respiratory disease burden in these children.
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