Stress in pregnancy linked to children’s asthma risk

admin   •   April 7, 2014   •   2443

FILE PHOTO: A child touches her pregnant mother’s stomach at the last stages of her pregnancy in Bordeaux April 28, 2010. CREDIT: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU

(Reuters Health) – Stress during pregnancy brought on by events like divorce, job loss or death of a loved one appears to be linked to an increased risk of asthma and eczema among children.

These findings, Dr. Petra Arck told Reuters Health in an email, could “allow clinicians to evaluate future asthma risk in unborn children using a simple life event assessment questionnaire.”

Arck, of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, and her colleagues note that although there are strong genetic components to asthma and related conditions, these alone do not help explain the unprecedented increase in such diseases in recent years.

Over the same period as that increase, they add, stress levels have been on the rise. But there hasn’t been much evidence to connect stress in pregnancy to asthma and eczema.

To investigate further, the researchers examined data from 1,587 children and their mothers who took part in an Australian pregnancy study. The original purpose of the study was to determine the effects of intensive fetal monitoring on pregnancy outcomes.

Mothers-to-be were asked about recent stressful life events halfway through their pregnancy and again toward the end of pregnancy. Their children were evaluated for asthma, eczema and other allergy-related conditions at age six and 14.

Complete data were available for 994 children and their mothers.

The researchers calculated that the likelihood of having asthma or eczema as a teenager was substantially higher among children of mothers who experienced stressful life events during the second half of their pregnancies.

Specifically, kids were about twice as likely to have asthma as 14-year-olds if their mothers had been through a single stressful life event, once other factors known to influence asthma were taken into account. Risks were similar when mothers had experienced multiple life stressors.

When the researchers looked closer, they found that pattern only held among children whose mothers did not have asthma themselves.

There was no link between stressful events in pregnancy and a child’s chance of having asthma or eczema at age six, according to findings published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The authors note that they did not have information on how mothers-to-be coped with stressful life events or the types of social support they had available.

And they point out that factors other than stress in pregnancy might have been responsible for the increased risk of disease in certain children.

One researcher not involved in the study said it was well designed and addressed an important topic, but urged caution when interpreting the findings.

Alet H. Wijga, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, echoed the warning that stress, itself, may not have been what caused kids’ asthma and eczema.

“Life events like money problems, job loss and residential move associated with separation or divorce during pregnancy may well have lasting impact on the socio-economic position of the mother and her child and may, for example, be associated with unfavorable indoor and outdoor exposures throughout the child’s life course up to adolescence,” Wijga told Reuters Health in an email.

“I do think the study provides evidence for an association between prenatal adverse life events and the risk for allergic disease in childhood,” Wijga said. The challenge in the future will be to sort out the possible effects of stress during pregnancy from a child’s environment growing up, the researcher added.

SOURCE: bit,ly/1fMJrNu Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online March 24, 2014.

Global workforce face 305-M job losses in Q2; service sectors in PH to bear brunt

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The International Labor Organization (ILO) has recorded a 4.8 percent decline in the number of working hours worldwide which is equivalent to 135 million full-time jobs in the first quarter of 2020 as an impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

It is estimated to reach 305 million equivalent jobs by the end of the second-quarter which would add to the number of unemployed individuals around the world.

Specifically, the regions that will bear the brunt of largest losses in hours worked worldwide would be the Americas, Europe and Central Asia.

According to the ILO, the hardest hit are young workers, of which 1 out of 6 are now jobless since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Those who remain employed have faced cuts in their working hours by 23 percent,  the ILO said.

In the Philippines, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III estimates that around 4 million to 5 million Filipinos could become jobless this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers may even reach 10 million if the crisis worsens further.

“Right now, your Honor, we already lost 2.6-M workers resulting from business establishments going into temporary closure and another group of business establishments resorting to flexible work arrangement,” Bello reported during a May 20 Senate hearing.

The most affected is the service sector which includes tourism, hotels, and restaurants.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in the same hearing, reported a decline in tourist arrivals in the Philippines by 54 percent from January to April this year compared with the same period in 2019.

This resulted in a reduction of 55 percent in tourist arrival revenues during the same period.

“With both international and domestic travel restriction in effect for the entirety of April, there have been no visiting tourists and therefore no revenue for the industry for this month,” Romulo-Puyat said.

To address the issue, the Labor and Tourism Departments are asking Congress for P40-billion and P70-billion budgets, respectively, to assist workers and related sectors in coping with the effects of the pandemic. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

DOH, tiniyak na ligtas pa ring manganak sa ospital sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   April 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinawi ng Department of Health (DOH) ang pangamba ng mga buntis hinggil sa kaligtasan ng panganganak sa mga ospital sa gitna ng krisis sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sa bansa.

Sa isang Facebook post, tiniyak ng DOH na ligtas pa ring manganak sa mga ospital dahil may sinusunod na istriktong panuntunan ang health facilities upang masegurong ligtas sa naturang sakit ang mga buntis at isisilang nilang sanggol.

“Huwag tayong mangamba na manganak sa ospital. Ang ating mga ospital ay may mahigpit na infection prevention and control measures. Hindi nito pababayaan ang kalusugan niyo at ni baby,” saad ng ahensiya sa isang pahayag.

“Ginagawa nila ang lahat ng kanilang makakaya upang makapagbigay ng dekalidad na birthing services habang patuloy ang paglaban ng ating bansa kontra sa COVID-19,” dagdag pa nito.

Payo rin ng DOH sa mga malapit nang manganak na makipag-ugnayan sa mga opisyal ng kanilang barangay para maihatid sa pagamutan lalo na at suspindido ang public transport habang umiiral ang enhanced community quarantine sa buong Luzon.

“Kung walang masakyan papuntang paanakan, ipagbigay-alam ito sa inyong barangay upang mapaghandaan bago pa man manganak,” sinabi ng ahensya.

Sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis, sinabi ng DOH na pinakaligtas pa ring manganak sa isang health facility na nagbibigay ng birthing services gaya ng maternity at newborn care.

Maaari ding manganak sa mga sumusunod na pasilidad na lisensiyado ng DOH at accredited ng Philhealth:

  • Birthing facility ng Helath Center o Municipal/Rural Health Units
  • Mga pribadong lying-in clinics na mayroong midwife, nurse at doctor
  • Mga infirmary

“Kung pipiliing manganak sa panibagong health facility na iba sa inyong napagplanuhan, siguraduhing makipag-ugnyan sa inyong health care provider pang siya ay makapagbigay ng tamang referral o endorsement,” ayon sa DOH.

Kapag malapit nang manganak, mas mainam na rebyuhin ang birth plan (mother-baby book o pregnancy record mula sa inyong healthcare provider), at hangga’t maaari ay ituloy ang prenatal check-ups o kaya ay makipag-usap sa inyong healthcare provider sa pamamagitan ng tawag, text message o email habang may community quarantine.

Dapat ring ihanda ang maternity bag at newborn bag, at isilid rito ang inyong mother-baby book at PhilHealth card.

Ngayong may kumakalat na virus, pinapayuhan ng DOH ang mga buntis na ipagpatuloy ang pag-inom ng supplements na sagana sa iron at folic acid, kumain ng masusustansiyang pagkain at panatilihin ang kalinisan ng katawan, umiwas sa mga pagkaing maalat at mamantika, at ugaliing maghugas ng kamat gamit ang sabit at tubig bago at pagkatapos hawakan at pasusuhin ang inyong sanggol.

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

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