The culprit is air pollution — a problem around the globe, from homes where people cook using coal and wood to the smoky streets of San Francisco when wildfires were raging.
Officials warned residents that the air pollution could exacerbate many health issues, such cardiovascular disease, asthma and other respiratory diseases. And it could increase the risk catching COVID-19.
But what about the youngest members of society? How does air pollution affect pregnant women and their newborn babies?
Now an international team of researchers have a better understanding of that answer. Air pollution, both inside and outside the home, contributed to the deaths of about 500,000 newborns in 2019, the team reports in the State of Global Air 2020.
In the new research, Rakesh Ghosh and colleagues analyzed data from more than 20 studies, which linked exposure to PM 2.5 during pregnancy to an increase risk of giving birth prematurely or to a low-weight baby (that is, a baby weighing less than 5.5 pounds). Both conditions reduce a child’s chance of surviving the first month of life.
For each 10 unit increase in PM 2.5 over the course of pregnancy, a woman’s risk of giving birth to a low-weight baby increases by about 6%, Ghosh and his team report in the journal The Lancet.
(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Original author – Michaeleen Doucleff
Originally posted by – www.npr.org