Background There is evidence that antenatal factors play a role in the development of atopic dermatitis (AD). However, little is known about the effects of maternal lifestyle factors during pregnancy on the risk of AD in the offspring.
Objective To investigate the effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on the incidence of AD in the offspring.
Methods A total of 24 341 mother–child pairs enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort were followed prospectively. Information about alcohol consumption was obtained by interview at 12 and 30 weeks of gestation. Information about symptoms, time of onset, and doctor's diagnosis of AD in the offspring was obtained by interview at 18 months of age. The effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on the incidence of AD was analysed by Cox regression allowing for different effects of alcohol before (early infancy) and after 2 months (60 days) of age.
Results Alcohol during pregnancy was associated with a significant and dose-dependent increased risk of AD in early infancy. This effect was mainly seen in high-risk infants (two parents with allergic disease). Thus, the highest risk of AD in early infancy was seen in high-risk infants of mothers who consumed four or more drinks per week at 30 weeks of gestation (adjusted relative risk 4.2, 95% confidence interval 1.7–10.1). There was no effect of alcohol during pregnancy beyond early infancy.
Conclusions The results suggest that alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of early-onset AD in predisposed infants.
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