Maternal stress in fetal and early life has been associated with the development of respiratory allergies, but no studies exist about food allergy. Stressful events and the quality of caregiving provided, as they affect the emotional and physiologic regulation of the infant, could alter the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and immune system, facilitating an increased allergic response. This study aimed to investigate the influence of perinatal stress, as perceived by mothers, on developing food allergy in childhood. A survey on pregnancy and the first three months after giving birth was submitted to 59 Italian mothers of at least one child suffering from severe food allergy and one completely healthy child, for a total of 118 children examined. The presence of stressful events and the quality of perinatal period for each child were assessed retrospectively. The food allergic children’s data were compared to siblings’ data through inferential statistics. The results showed a significantly higher number of stressful events occurred during patients’ perinatal period, compared to siblings, in particular bereavements in pregnancy and parenting difficulties in postpartum. Mothers reported harder pregnancies and more stressful, harder, and, in general, worse postpartum when referring to their food-allergic children, in comparison with their siblings (p < .05). Psychological aspects are demonstrated to be involved in the development of allergic diseases. This study constitutes the first step to examine the role of early stress and perinatal psychosocial factors in the pathogenesis of food allergy; further studies are necessary to understand individual psychological impact and its relations with genetic and biological factors.

Perinatal stress and food allergy: a preliminary study on maternal reports

POLLONI, LAURA;FERRUZZA, EMILIA;RONCONI, LUCIA;LAZZAROTTO, FRANCESCA;TONIOLO, ALICE;BONAGURO, ROBERTA;MURARO, MARIA ANTONELLA
2014

Abstract

Maternal stress in fetal and early life has been associated with the development of respiratory allergies, but no studies exist about food allergy. Stressful events and the quality of caregiving provided, as they affect the emotional and physiologic regulation of the infant, could alter the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and immune system, facilitating an increased allergic response. This study aimed to investigate the influence of perinatal stress, as perceived by mothers, on developing food allergy in childhood. A survey on pregnancy and the first three months after giving birth was submitted to 59 Italian mothers of at least one child suffering from severe food allergy and one completely healthy child, for a total of 118 children examined. The presence of stressful events and the quality of perinatal period for each child were assessed retrospectively. The food allergic children’s data were compared to siblings’ data through inferential statistics. The results showed a significantly higher number of stressful events occurred during patients’ perinatal period, compared to siblings, in particular bereavements in pregnancy and parenting difficulties in postpartum. Mothers reported harder pregnancies and more stressful, harder, and, in general, worse postpartum when referring to their food-allergic children, in comparison with their siblings (p < .05). Psychological aspects are demonstrated to be involved in the development of allergic diseases. This study constitutes the first step to examine the role of early stress and perinatal psychosocial factors in the pathogenesis of food allergy; further studies are necessary to understand individual psychological impact and its relations with genetic and biological factors.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3140731
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