Air pollution during pregnancy can affect the growth of newborns

Air pollution during pregnancy can affect the growth of newborns

A study published in Environmental Research suggests that maternal exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is associated with adverse effects on newborn health. The stages most sensitive to air pollution are the first and last months of pregnancy .

Nitrogen dioxide (NO 2) and fine particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM 2.5) are two of the main pollutants related to air pollution and vehicle traffic.

Fine particles

According to the main researcher of the study, Amaia Irizar-Loibide , researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the UPV / EHU, the effect of maternal exposure to these fine particles and to nitrogen dioxide during pregnancy and the link with thyroxine levels in newborns.

We have been monitoring weekly as the development of the fetus varies greatly from week to week. That is why we try to carry out the most detailed research possible to find out which are the most sensitive weeks of pregnancy.

This is how the sample of the INMA (Environment and Children) project in Gipuzkoa was analyzed. Data on air pollutants PM 2.5 and NO 2, data on TSH and T4 levels of neonatal heels, etc., collected in the project were also used.

The results obtained in this study have directly revealed the relationship between exposure to fine particles during pregnancy and the level of thyroxine in newborns. However, we have not observed a clear link with nitrogen dioxide exposure. It is not clear what mechanism is behind all this. In any case, we have concluded that the most sensitive periods of pregnancy in terms of air pollution are the early and late months.