Kids with mums who have allergies or asthma have an increased risk of wheezing in the chest if they take part in baby swimming before 6 months of age, according to a new study.
To reach the conclusions, the study used data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Study (MoBa) at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).
The results come from a study of 30 000 participants from MoBa. Approximately 25 percent of these children took part in baby swimming from 0-6 months of age.
The analysis of the study revealed that most children who take part in baby swimming show no increased incidence of lower respiratory tract infections, ear inflammation (otitis media) or tightness and wheezing in the chest.
Between 6-18 months the incidence of lower respiratory tract infections and otitis media were 13 percent and 30 percent respectively, whilst the proportion of children who experienced tightness or wheezing in the chest was 40 percent.
Among children of mothers with asthma and allergy, 44 percent of those who did not go swimming had tightness or wheezing in the chest. This was compared to the 47 percent of children who swam and experienced tightness and wheezing who had mothers with asthma and allergies.
"The difference is not large but it indicates a tendency to respiratory problems," said Wenche Nystad, primary author and Department Director at the NIPH's Division of Epidemiology.
"The connection between respiratory problems and baby swimming was suggested by a pediatrician who asked whether children with increased risk of asthma, who took part in baby swimming, had a greater tendency to develop respiratory diseases. Earlier studies indicated a connection but the results were uncertain. Therefore we want to carry out a more thorough study," said Nystad.
If mother and baby are healthy, the study shows that there is no increased risk of otitis media or respiratory problems with baby swimming before six months of age.