A woman’s exposure to high levels of pollen during the final weeks of her pregnancy increases the risk of early asthma in the child, according to a recent study at Umeå University in Sweden.

High levels of pollen exposure during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy resulted in a significantly increased risk of hospitalization for asthma symptoms in the first year of life for a child, the researchers said.

The study, which was conducted by Umeå University’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, studied 110,000 pregnancies in the Stockholm area and focused on the significance of pollen content present during different time periods before and after birth.

The study suggests several possibilities for the connection between prenatal pollen exposure and childhood asthma.

Mothers with pollen allergies who are exposed to high levels of pollen may suffer allergic reactions and asthma symptoms, which could affect the unborn child’s environment and immune system development, the study suggests.

It is also possible that pregnant women with severe reactions to pollen can suffer complications, which increase the likelihood of premature birth and the risk of respiratory problems in the child, according to the study.

The full study was published in the Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology Journal, available here.