Air Pollution Increases Premature Births
A new study reported by Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows pregnant with asthma woman are at risk of premature births when exposed to certain kids of air pollution.
These woman when exposed to nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide just before conception and in early pregnancy were found to have an increase in the incidence of preterm births.
“For example, an increase of 30 parts per billion in nitrogen oxide exposure in the three months prior to pregnancy increased preterm birth risk by nearly 30 percent for women with asthma, compared to 8 percent for women without asthma. Greater carbon monoxide exposure during the same period raised preterm birth risk by 12 percent for asthmatic women, but had no effect on preterm birth risk for non-asthmatics.” – NIH
This study is the first to examine whether exposure to air pollution before conception might affect infant health.
Also, a critical time for women with asthma is the last trimester, if exposed to high levels of particulate matter, which is a very small particles of substances like acids, metals, and dust in the air, caused a higher risk of preterm birth risk.
Premature births affect 1 in 10 infants born in the US. Asthma affects an estimated 9 percent of women of reproductive age in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, pregnant women with asthma have a higher risk of pregnancy complications and health problems for infants.
Dr. Mendola, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), said “In this case, it may be that early exposure to air pollution sets off inflammation or other internal stresses that interfere with embryo implantation or placental development. Those disruptions could lead to preterm delivery down the road. More research will help us to better understand the potential impact of air pollution in the months surrounding conception.”
Researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth; the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Oulu, Finland; the Emmes Corporation in Rockville, Maryland; and Texas A&M University in College Station also participated in the study. They analyzed data from a national sample of 223,502 pregnancies, delivered at 19 hospitals around the country from 2002 to 2008.
It is recommended that if you have asthma and you are pregnant or are planning on getting pregnant, you should limit your exposure to air pollution. Additionally, you might want limit outdoor activity when the air quality is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, said Dr. Mendola. Air quality data are available from the Environmental Protection Agency at www.airnow.gov.
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