Air Pollution Linked to 1 in 20 Cases of Pre-Eclampsia

Ozone exposure in the first three months of pregnancy is the main culprit, study says

By on February 8th, 2013 18:41 GMT

While some researchers are busy arguing that air pollution can cause women to give birth to smaller children, others maintain that the very same environmental issue can be linked to one in twenty cases of pre-eclampsia.

This second study into how air pollution affects pregnant women was published in the online version of the British Medical Journal.

According to the specialists who have investigated this link between air pollution and pre-eclampsia, women are most likely to be affected by an ozone exposure-induced version of this medical condition during their first three months of pregnancy.

Furthermore, it looks like future mothers who also happen to suffer with asthma are more vulnerable, and therefore more likely to be affected.

For those unaware, pre-eclampsia is a medical condition that involves a pregnant woman’s displaying both high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine, and can cause serious complications if left untreated.

Apparently, ozone exposure can sometimes also translate into premature births, which might in turn lead to both the mother's and the child's experiencing various medical complications.

“4.4% of pregnancies resulted in a preterm birth. The prevalence of pre-eclampsia was 2.7%. Increased levels of O3 during the first trimester increased the risk of pre-eclampsia and preterm birth. We estimated 1 in every 20 cases of pre-eclampsia to be associated with O3 exposure,” read the specialists’ statements on the matter at hand.

Interestingly enough, these researchers claim that, “Air pollutants did not exhibit any effects on fetal growth restriction.”

In order to establish this connection between air pollution and said pregnancy issues, the researchers have analyzed the records of nearly 121,000 singleton births that took place in Greater Stockholm, Sweden, between the years 1998 – 2006.

As well as this, they have looked at information related both to whether or not the mothers taken into consideration for this study had asthma, and to local air pollution levels.

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