Gestational diabetes, atopic dermatitis, and allergen sensitization in early childhood

Rajesh Kumar*, Fengxiu Ouyang, Rachel E. Story, Jacqueline A. Pongracic, Xiumei Hong, Guoying Wang, Colleen Pearson, Kathryn Ortiz, Howard Bauchner, Xiaobin Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background: The relationship between the prenatal environment, maternal-fetal interaction, and allergic disease in the offspring remains understudied. Objective: We sought to determine whether gestational diabetes (GDM) modifies the risk of early childhood atopic manifestations, including atopic dermatitis and allergen sensitization. Methods: This study includes 680 children from the Boston Birth Cohort. Mother-child dyads were recruited at birth and followed prospectively to a mean age of 3.2 ± 2.3 years, with study visits aligned with the pediatric primary care schedule. The primary outcomes were physician-diagnosed atopic dermatitis on standardized medical record abstraction and allergen sensitization based on ImmunoCAP to 7 common foods and 5 common aeroallergens (specific IgE, ≥0.10 kUA/L; Phadia, Uppsala, Sweden). GDM was determined by means of standardized medical record review. Logistic regression analysis, stratified by term/preterm status, evaluated the association of GDM with atopic dermatitis and allergen sensitization, respectively, controlling for maternal prepregnancy body mass index, fetal growth, and pertinent covariates. Results: Of the 680 children, 488 were term, and 192 were preterm (<37 weeks' gestation). Overall, 4.9% of the mothers had GDM. Among the 680 children, 34.4% had atopic dermatitis, and 51% had allergen sensitization. In term births GDM was significantly associated with atopic dermatitis (odds ratio [OR], 7.2; 95% CI, 1.5-34.5) and allergen sensitization (OR, 5.7; 95% CI, 1.2-28.0). Adjusting for fetal growth had little effect. The association with sensitization was driven primarily by food sensitization (OR, 8.3; 95% CI, 1.6-43.3). The above associations were not observed in preterm births. Conclusions: In term births GDM increased the risk of atopic dermatitis and early childhood allergen sensitization independently of maternal prepregnancy body mass index and fetal growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1038.e4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • eczema
  • food allergen sensitization
  • gestational diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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