Pollen exposure in the womb may affect a baby's asthma risk

While you're pregnant, there's probably a lot on your mind. You're thinking about what you should name your baby, what color you should paint his or her room, what type of person your child will grow up to be, but most importantly, you hope that he or she will be healthy. While there are many future health issues that can be detected during fetal development, there are some things that doctors will not be able to diagnose until after a child is born. For example, post delivery it can take months or even years to discover if he or she has allergies or asthma.

However, this doesn't mean that you can't help prevent your child from developing asthma before giving birth. According to a recent study conducted by researchers from Umea University in Sweden, maternal exposure to large amounts of pollen late in your pregnancy may increase your baby's risk for  asthma.

Lots of pollen, lots of trouble
The researchers said that, in the past, there has been an association between babies who were born during pollen season and those with asthma. While pollen season is a yearly event in many areas, some years bring more pollen than others. The scientists discovered that women who were exposed to high levels of pollen during the last 12 weeks of their pregnancies were more likely to have children who were hospitalized for asthma symptoms during the first year of their lives than those who were not around pollen.

The researchers said that there could be many possible causes behind this association. For example, women exposed to pollen may have an allergic reaction that affects their child's immune system during fetal development. Also, women who have strong allergic reactions to pollen may give birth earlier than they should, which could increase their children's risk of developing respiratory problems.

This may encourage you to put off that trip to the country you were planning to take during the last trimester of your pregnancy, especially if you have pollen allergies.

Help kids with asthma
If you do have a child who has asthma, you're not alone. The American Lung Association states that asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood, affecting more than 7 million U.S. children.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers some tipson what you should do to help your asthmatic child. For example, you should make an asthma action plan with his or her doctor, which will include steps for what to do if an attack occurs. Once this plan has been developed, share it with all important family members, babysitters and teachers in your child's life.

Also, you can make your home a safer place for an asthmatic child by making it as free of dust as possible and keeping people from smoking cigarettes in your home.

Does your child have asthma? Do you have any tips for our readers on how to control symptoms? Discuss them here!