Air pollution linked to low birth weight

Air pollution linked to low birth weight

Pregnant people exposed to certain air pollutants are significantly more likely to give birth to lighter babies, according to a new study. the Polthe lutants are P.M2.5 and PM10 (terms referring to miniature, incredibinhalable particle size) and nitrogen dioxide (NOtwo) – and the higher the contamination levels, the stronger the link.

Once in your life you really No I want to be slim is right at the beginning. Low birth weight, defined as being born weighing less than 2.5 kilograms (5 pounds, 8 ounces), increases the risk of a whole range of terrifying-sounding problems – from jaundice and infections to bleeding in the brain, breathing problems, and death.

Ideally, then, pregnant women would want to avoid increasing their risk of having a low birth weight baby. With some risk factors, that’s pretty straightforward: It’s one of the reasons doctors recommend against alcohol consumption Y smoking in pregnancyand why certain medications often needs to be stopped, reduced, or changed while the fetus continues to develop.

However, other risk factors are basically impossible to avoid. You can’t just get older or younger, for example, although age is known to be linked to low birth weight; nor can you change your race to avoid health discrimination that makes the experiences of many people more dangerous in many ways.

A new study published today has found another risk factor that is particularly difficult to avoid: breathing.

At least, that is, breathing in areas with high levels of air pollution. The study, part of the ongoing Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors, or MADRES, project analyzed data from pregnant women from low-income populations in Los Angeles, where ambient air pollution is almost inescapable.

“In the low-income, predominantly Hispanic population comprising the MADRES cohort, we observed strong associations of low birth weight with NOtwoP.M2.5and PM10 exposures in the window from early pregnancy to mid-pregnancy”, confirms the document. “Inverse associations were generally stronger, and sensitive windows were generally wider within subgroups with high perceived stress at the individual level, high cumulative burden at the neighborhood level, or both.”

The study joins a growing body of evidence linking air pollution to adverse birth outcomes: only this month, another research group found evidence of soot particles within fetal circulatory systems as early as the first trimester. Like them, the team behind today’s result found the effect even in early pregnancy, which makes sense, they explain, since “early to mid-pregnancy is the critical period for organogenesis and functional initiation that lays the foundation for fetal growth, such as the initiation of hematopoiesis, the formation of brown fat, and the secretion of thyroid hormone.

“Therefore, exposure to air pollution during early pregnancy could affect fetal and placental development and eventually lead to lower birth weight, particularly for mothers with high psychosocial stress,” they write.

“Both individual-level and neighborhood-level stressors could act on some known biological pathways that are also involved in responses to air pollution exposure, including increased oxidative stress and systemic inflammation, hormonal disruption and reduced placental function.

Of course, stats are what they areresearchers stop short of stating that exposure to air pollution causes low birth weight directly. However, the link is significant enough that we recommend protecting pregnant people from air pollution as much as possible.

“The population with high psychosocial stress at the individual level and high cumulative burden at the neighborhood level faced the highest susceptibility and the widest sensitive window of air pollution exposure in association with birth weight, suggesting that stressors at the individual and neighborhood level can aggravate one. other”, conclude the authors. “However, further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms of the joint effects of individual and neighborhood stressors on the association between air pollution and reduced fetal growth.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Open Network.

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