OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the absolute nucleated red blood cell and lymphocyte count is elevated in term, appropriate-for-gestational-age infants born to women with asthma. STUDY DESIGN: We compared absolute nucleated red blood cell counts taken during the first 12 hours of life in two groups of term, vaginally delivered, appropriate-for-gestational-age infants; one group was born to mothers with active asthma during pregnancy (n = 28 infants), and the other group was born to control mothers (n = 29 infants). Asthma severity was classified according to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. We excluded infants of women with diabetes-mellitus, hypertension, alcohol, and tobacco or drug abuse and infants with fetal heart rate abnormalities, hemolysis, blood loss, or chromosomal anomalies. RESULTS: There were no differences between groups in birth weight, gestational age, maternal age, gravidity, parity, maternal analgesia during labor, 1- and 5-minute Apgar scores, and infant sex. The hematocrit level, red blood cell count, absolute nucleated red blood cell count, and corrected leukocyte and lymphocyte counts were significantly higher in the asthma group than in the control group. The platelet count was not significantly different between groups. The absolute nucleated red blood cell count correlated significantly with the asthma severity score (r2 = 28%, P < .001). Backward stepwise multiple regression that included Apgar scores and gestational age showed a significant correlation of absolute nucleated red blood cell count with the presence of asthma and its severity (P < .001). CONCLUSION: At birth, term appropriate-for-gestational-age infants born to mothers with asthma have increased circulating absolute nucleated red blood cell and lymphocyte counts compared with control infants.
- Nucleated red blood cells
- Term infants