The findings are published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
"Approximately 70% of mothers who said they experienced high levels of anxiety or depression while they were pregnant reported their child had wheezed before age five," study lead author Marilyn Reyes, a researcher at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health in New York City, said.
"Understanding how maternal depression affects a child's respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions," Reyes added.
The research team said common asthma symptoms include:
- Coughing, particularly during the night
- Wheezing or whistling while breathing
- Difficulty breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to sink in
- Frequent chest colds.
The study authors noted that children who experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis could have asthma and should see an allergist.
"The symptoms of paediatric asthma can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies," allergist Dr Rachel Miller, study senior author, said in the news release. "With the right treatment, your child can sleep through the night, avoid missing time from day care or preschool, and breathe easy."