Maternal exposure to antibiotics increases the risk of infant eczema before one year of life: a meta-analysis of observational studies

  • Fa-Qing HuangEmail author
  • Chang-Yu Lu
  • Shi-Ping Wu
  • Shao-Zhi Gong
  • Yan Zhao



There are some conflicting evidences showing that maternal exposure to antibiotics may increase the risk of infant eczema. The present study aims to estimate the effect of prenatal antibiotics administration on infant eczema.


According to the established inclusion criteria, eligible observational studies were collected by comprehensive database search. The qualities of the included studies were assessed using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale. Effect sizes that were adjusted by multivariable models were extracted and combined. Publication bias was evaluated by visual inspection of funnel plot.


A total of seven observational studies were included. The qualities of the included studies were at moderate or high level. Prenatal antibiotics use was positively associated with eczema before one year of age [odds ratio (OR) = 1.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.35–2.76]. In addition, antibiotics exposure in utero was likely to be related to eczema after one year of age (OR 1.21, 95% CI 0.98–1.49). The exposure to antibiotics during third trimester was not associated with infant eczema (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.86–1.09).


Maternal exposure to antibiotics is associated with eczema by one-year age and may have a prolonged effect on eczema after 1-year age. The influence of timing of antibiotics exposure during pregnancy needs more studies to clarify.


Antibiotics Eczema Infant Meta-analysis 


Author contributions

FQH and CYL contributed to the study design. All authors collected the data and performed the data analysis, and prepared the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.



Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

Not needed.

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fa-Qing Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chang-Yu Lu
    • 1
  • Shi-Ping Wu
    • 1
  • Shao-Zhi Gong
    • 1
  • Yan Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyJingzhou First People’s Hospital, Shashi DistrictJingzhouChina

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