Pollution warning for pregnant mothers
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of miscarrying if they are exposed to elevated levels of a type of air pollution, a study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Utah found a 16% increase in the risk of miscarriage among women exposed to higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, a gas created by petrol and diesel vehicles.
The findings were described as “upsetting” by one of the doctors who led the study.
The warning comes amid heightened concern over air pollution’s potential links to a growing list of diseases and conditions including strokes, dementia and autism.
The NHS says that, among women who know they are pregnant, an estimated one in eight pregnancies ends in miscarriage, while many more occur before a woman is aware she has become pregnant.
The research into potential links with pollution saw doctors analyse the records of more than 1,300 women who sought help at the University of Utah’s emergency department following miscarriage between 2007 and 2015.
The team calculated the risk of miscarriage during periods of three or seven days after a spike in levels of common air pollutants, including small particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.