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BACKGROUND: Eczema is a growing threat on infants' health and the role of maternal depression in the risk of eczema's early onset is unclear. This study aimed to examine the associations of different exposure timing of prenatal depressive symptoms with offspring's eczema in infancy. METHODS: The study was part of the ongoing prospective Born in Guangzhou Cohort study. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed at both early (< 20th week of gestation) and late pregnancy (≥ 33th week of gestation to delivery) using Self-rating Depression Scale. Information on diagnosis of eczema was collected at the 1-year-age visit. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the association between prenatal depressive symptoms and infants' eczema and test for moderation by parental history of allergic diseases. RESULTS: In this population, 7.7% (447/5825) of mothers experienced persistent depressive symptoms during pregnancy, 10.1% (590/5825) with depressive symptoms only at early pregnancy and 8.4% (489/5825) of women experienced depressive symptoms only at late pregnancy. After adjusting for potential confounders, higher risks of eczema were observed in infants of mothers with persistent prenatal depressive symptoms when compared to those children without maternal depressive symptoms throughout pregnancy (OR: 1.55, 95% CI 1.19 to 2.03). These associations were marginally more pronounced among children in families without parents affected by allergic diseases than in other families (P for interaction =0.064 for courses of prenatal depressive symptoms). CONCLUSION: Persistent maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy increased the risk of infants' eczema, especially in children without family history of allergic diseases. These associations, if proved to be causal, could be intervention target not only to improve women's health but also to prevent offspring's eczema.

Original publication




Journal article


Pediatr Allergy Immunol

Publication Date



cohort, eczema, infant, prenatal depressive symptom