Compared with other children, those born to mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome were more likely to be hospitalized for infectious diseases, allergy and other childhood morbidities, according to data published in Human Reproduction.
“Women with PCOS are at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and a number of studies suggest that there may be associations with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth,” Shu Qin Wei, MD, PhD, a researcher in the department of OB/GYN at the University of Montreal in Canada, and colleagues wrote. “Although an impact on birth outcomes has been documented, the long-term health of children whose mothers have PCOS has received limited attention.”
Wei and colleagues retrospectively examined the rates of hospitalization for morbidities before age 13 years in 1,038,375 children born in Quebec between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2019. Of these, 7,160 children had mothers with PCOS.
Primary morbidities included infectious diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia; allergic diseases such as anaphylaxis and atopic dermatitis; and malignant diseases such as retinoblastoma and leukemia. Secondary outcomes included morbidities such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and behavioral disorders.
In total, 275,354 children were hospitalized, 2,314 (0.8%) of whom were exposed to PCOS. Compared with unexposed children, children exposed to PCOS were 1.32-times more likely to be hospitalized for any morbidity when adjusting for maternal characteristics (95% CI, 1.26-1.4).
When compared with children born to mothers without PCOS, PCOS-exposed children had a higher hospitalization risk for:
infectious diseases (adjusted HR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.25-1.38);
allergic diseases (aHR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.31-1.66);
respiratory conditions (aHR = 1.32; 95% CI, 1.23-1.41);
metabolic conditions (aHR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.16-2.18);
gastrointestinal conditions (aHR = 1.72; 95% CI, 1.53-1.92);
central nervous system conditions (aHR = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.46-2.07);
ophthalmologic conditions (aHR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.27-1.67);
otologic conditions (aHR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.26-1.43); and
mental and behavioral disorders (aHR 1.68, 95% CI 1.42–1.99).
Specifically, children who were exposed to PCOS had a higher risk for hospitalization with otitis media (aHR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.22-1.38), pneumonia (aHR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.08-1.34), gastroenteritis (aHR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.25-1.64), asthma (aHR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.36-1.76) and metabolic syndrome (aHR = 1.71; 95% CI, 1.27-2.3) compared with children who were not exposed to PCOS.
However, children exposed vs. not exposed to PCOS did not have a higher risk for hospitalization due to cancer, cardiovascular conditions, malignancy or musculoskeletal conditions.
There was little difference in the association between PCOS and hospitalization between boys and girls, according to the study.
“Overall, the findings suggest that maternal PCOS may have a negative impact on offspring development, enough to lead to a measurable increase in the risk of childhood hospitalization,” Wei and colleagues wrote.
The researchers said studies should investigate whether effectively managing PCOS in women reduces their children’s morbidities.