High levels of air pollution affect the development of babies when they are still in their mother's womb
Pollution affects the entire population. However, different studies have shown that there is a relationship between pollution, complications during pregnancy, and childhood diseases. The inhalation of toxic gases (such as nitrogen dioxide) and fine particles (PM 2.5) are contaminants that affect the health of the mother and the proper development of the baby.
Leer en español: ¡Cuidado! La polución afecta la salud de tu bebé
The BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, published a study in which it is concluded that pollution in the United Kingdom has caused babies to be born weighing less than 2,500 grams. The results of the investigation show that the inhalation of contaminating particles, especially PM 2.5, increases in 6% the risk that the baby is born with low weight and increases in 3% the chances that the gestational size of the baby is smaller.
In fact, the study authors claimed that the "findings suggest that air pollution from traffic in London is negatively affecting fetal growth". To improve the situation and prevent more babies from being born with these conditions, the authors propose that emissions of these particles be reduced by 10%. Thus, 90 babies - equivalent to 3% of annual births in the United Kingdom - will no longer suffer from these conditions.
On the other hand, the respiratory system of newborns is also affected. The European Lung Foundation found that pregnant mothers who were exposed to air polluted generated by vehicular traffic have babies with greater chances of suffering from asthma. This possibility occurs even in places with low traffic concentration and low pollution rates.
To reach these conclusions, the researchers studied 65,000 children in Canada from the time they were born until they turned 10 years old. According to the results of the study, "children whose mothers lived near roads during pregnancy had a relative risk greater than 25% of developing asthma before age five".
According to statements collected by the portal EurekAlert! Dr. Hind Sbihi, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, said: "Air pollution affects 100% of the population and this study highlights the harmful effects of air pollution right from the moment we are created. A large proportion of Europe's population live in areas with unhealthy outdoor air and it is essential that we increase awareness of the dangers of polluted air. Our Healthy Lungs for Life campaign aims to do this by focusing on measures to help prevent damaging lung conditions. Urgent action is needed to tackle the rising levels of air pollution”.
For this reason, it is essential that parents take enough precautionary measures so that their babies can be born in the best conditions. In this sense, the medical accompaniment and the guidance of a health professional are fundamental to carry a healthy pregnancy and a healthy childhood.
LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from “¡Cuidado! La polución afecta la salud de tu bebé”
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