DOI: 10.1002/ijgo.15407 ISSN: 0020-7292

Adverse neonatal outcomes in pregnant women with asthma: An updated systematic review and meta‐analysis

Annelies L. Robijn, Soriah M. Harvey, Megan E. Jensen, Samuel Atkins, Kiah J. D. Quek, Gang Wang, Hannah Smith, Christina Chambers, Jennifer Namazy, Michael Schatz, Peter G. Gibson, Vanessa E. Murphy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • General Medicine



A systematic review and meta‐analysis from 2013 reported increased risks of congenital malformations, neonatal death and neonatal hospitalization amongst infants born to women with asthma compared to infants born to mothers without asthma.


Our objective was to update the evidence on the associations between maternal asthma and adverse neonatal outcomes.

Search Strategy

We performed an English‐language MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and COCHRANE search with the terms (asthma or wheeze) and (pregnan* or perinat* or obstet*).

Selection Criteria

Studies published from March 2012 until September 2023 reporting at least one outcome of interest (congenital malformations, stillbirth, neonatal death, perinatal mortality, neonatal hospitalization, transient tachypnea of the newborn, respiratory distress syndrome and neonatal sepsis) in a population of women with and without asthma.

Data Collection and Analysis

The study was reported following the 2020 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analysis (PRISMA) and the Meta‐Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. Quality of individual studies was assessed by two reviewers independently using the Newcastle‐Ottawa Scale. Random effects models (≥3 studies) or fixed effect models (≤2 studies) were used with restricted maximum likelihood to calculate relative risk (RR) from prevalence data and the inverse generic variance method where adjusted odds ratios (aORs) from individual studies were combined.

Main Results

A total of 18 new studies were included, along with the 22 studies from the 2013 review. Previously observed increased risks remained for perinatal mortality (relative risk [RR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05, 1.23 n = 16 studies; aOR 1.07, 95% CI: 0.98–1.17 n = 6), congenital malformations (RR 1.36, 95% CI: 1.32–1.40 n = 17; aOR 1.42, 95% CI: 1.38–1.47 n = 6), and neonatal hospitalization (RR 1.27, 95% CI: 1.25–1.30 n = 12; aOR 1.1, 95% CI: 1.07–1.16 n = 3) amongst infants born to mothers with asthma, while the risk for neonatal death was no longer significant (RR 1.33, 95% CI: 0.95–1.84 n = 8). Previously reported non‐significant risks for major congenital malformations (RR1.18, 95% CI: 1.15–1.21; aOR 1.20, 95% CI: 1.15‐1.26 n = 3) and respiratory distress syndrome (RR 1.25, 95% CI: 1.17–1.34 n = 4; aOR 1.09, 95% CI: 1.01–1.18 n = 2) reached statistical significance.


Healthcare professionals should remain aware of the increased risks to neonates being born to mothers with asthma.

More from our Archive