Small fetal size very early in development — used as a surrogate for early lung development — was associated with a slight increased risk for asthma throughout childhood and into adolescence, researchers reported at ERS 2016.

In addition, a separate study examined whether prenatal factors affect COPD risk later in life, as measured by forced expiratory volume in 1 sec/forced vital capacity ( FEV1/FCV) ratio. “COPD is believed to have origins in childhood, however it has not yet been traced back to infancy,” they wrote. “Lung function tracks from infancy into adulthood and reduced FEV1/FVC is a cornerstone of COPD diagnosis.”

“These ?ndings suggest that antenatal factors contribute to life-long respiratory well-being,” the authors concluded.