Association between preterm birth and intrauterine growth retardation and child asthma.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An association between preterm birth and an increased risk for childhood asthma has been demonstrated but the importance of intrauterine growth retardation on asthma risk is unclear.Using data from Swedish health registers, infant characteristics and childhood asthma were studied. Analyses were made using Mantel-Haenszel methodology with adjustment for year of birth, maternal age, parity, smoking in early pregnancy, and maternal body mass index. Preterm birth, birth weight and birth weight for gestational week were analysed and childhood asthma was evaluated from prescriptions of anti-asthmatic drugs. Neonatal respiratory problems and treatment for them were studied as mediating factors.Both short gestational duration and intrauterine growth retardation appeared as risk factors and seemed to act separately. The largest effect was seen from short gestational duration. Use of mechanical ventilation in the newborn period and bronchopulmonary dysplasia were strong risk factors. A moderately increased risk was also seen in infants born large for gestational age.We conclude that preterm birth is a stronger risk factor for childhood asthma than intrauterine growth disturbances, but the latter also affects the risk, also in term infants.


  • Bengt Källén
  • O Finnström
  • Kg Nygren
  • P Otterblad Olausson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-676
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch