Mothers who swim during pregnancy increase their child’s risk of eczema and asthma [MUST READ]



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Pregnant mothers who regularly attend swimming
classes may be increasing the risk of their child developing an allergic
condition.

Scientists believe that commonly-found airborne
chemicals, such as chlorine from pools and compounds found in cleaning products
could be behind the five-fold increase in inherited allergies during the past
50 years.
Exposure to these chemicals may be altering an
unborn child’s immune system, leaving them more sensitive to conditions such as
eczema, asthma and hay fever.

The warning comes from a
report in the British Journal of Dermatology that looks at the growing
prevalence of these ‘atopic allergies’.
One theory, known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, is
that an excessively clean lifestyle has resulted in a generation of children
developing immune systems unfamiliar with many germs.

As a result, when they
are later exposed to new irritants their body is more likely to have an
allergic reaction.

However, experts from the St John’s Institute of
Dermatology in London and the University of Manchester are investigating
whether exposure to everyday airborne chemicals ‘during critical windows of
pregnancy/early-life development’ have also contributed to the rise.
‘High-level exposure to volatile organic compounds
in the domestic environment either during maternal pregnancy or in early life,
is associated with development of childhood atopic disease,’ says the report.

‘Similarly, sustained
exposure to airborne chlorinated chemicals from swimming pools during childhood
has been associated with the development of atopic allergy.’
Dr John McFadden, consultant dermatologist at St
John’s Institute, said further investigation was needed.
‘We in the science world are still struggling to
find the exact cause of this rise,’ he said. ‘We have not proved anything, we
are not saying this is the cause, this is a hypothesis, but we do know we are
using far more chemicals than we did 50 years ago, whether it is in personal
care products or processed food.’
Dr McFadden said the  findings should not
change  the advice currently given  to soon-to-be mothers, but 
the link required further study.
‘It is conceivable, but not proven, that persistent
low-dose exposure to chemicals can have some effect on the immune system,’ he
said.
Expectant women are encouraged to continue
exercising during pregnancy, and swimming is recommended by the NHS as water
helps support their additional weight.
Elizabeth Salter Green, director of CHEM Trust,
which campaigns against the overuse of manmade chemicals, said: ‘It is well
known that the foetus developing in-utero is extremely vulnerable to chemical
exposures.
‘Simply put, in-utero growth, including
neurological wiring of the brain and the development of the immune system, rely
on chemical messengers – hormones – being at the right level at the right
moment of development.
‘Therefore the theory that our increasing exposure
to worrying chemicals is [affecting] those natural chemical messengers, leading
to alteration of immune response and development of atopic allergies, via
cleaning products, personal care products and volatile chlorinated chemicals in
swimming pools, is highly plausible.’
The research is the latest to blame chemicals found
in everyday products such as washing-up liquid and shower gel for a surge in
allergic reactions.
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Culled from dailymail.
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