Maternal life and work stressors during pregnancy and asthma in offspring

Kathrine Pape, Xiaoqin Liu, Camilla Sandal Sejbæk, Niklas Worm Andersson, Ann Dyreborg Larsen, Hans Bay, Henrik Albert Kolstad, Jens Peter Ellekilde Bonde, Jørn Olsen, Cecilie Svanes, Kirsten Skamstrup Hansen, Reiner Rugulies, Karin Sørig Hougaard, Vivi Schlünssen

5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Maternal stressors during pregnancy are potential risk factors for asthma in offspring. However, previous studies have been limited by the use of self-reported data focusing on stressors either in private life or at work. This study examined the association between maternal stressors both in private life and at work during pregnancy and asthma in offspring.

METHODS: In the Danish National Birth Cohort, 75 156 live-born singletons born during 1996-2002 were identified. Maternal information on job title were available around weeks 12-16 of gestation. Data on maternal bereavement, life-threatening illness, suicide attempt and alcohol or drug abuse of a close relative and offspring childhood asthma (3-10 years of age) were obtained from Danish nationwide registers. Maternal psychosocial work stressors (job control, psychological job demands, emotional job demands, work-related violence and threats of work-related violence) were estimated by the use of job-exposure matrices. The association between maternal stress and childhood asthma was analysed in Cox models adjusted for maternal age, comorbidity and parity.

RESULTS: Neither private-life nor work stressors were related to onset of asthma in offspring. Separate analyses by parental atopy or onset of asthma in offspring supported the main findings.

CONCLUSIONS: This study does not support an elevated risk of childhood asthma related to exposure to stress during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1847-1855
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • bereavement
  • childhood asthma
  • job-exposure matrix
  • Negative life events
  • occupational exposure
  • stress


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