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Air Pollution Likely Led to 7% Pregnancy Loss In South Asia:Lancet

Globally, south Asia is the most populous region in the world, and has the highest rate of pregnancy loss.

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Air Pollution Likely Led to 7% Pregnancy Loss In South Asia:Lancet
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According to a study by The Lancet, poor air quality has been associated with pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh from 2000-2016.

The epidemiological case-control study is the first such research in looking at the link between exposure among mothers to ambient particulate matter (PM 2.5) and pregnancy loss, which included stillbirths and miscarriages.

"South Asia has the highest burden of pregnancy loss globally and is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions in the world," said study lead author Tao Xue, from Peking University, China, reported PTI.

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Research Findings

Globally, south Asia is the most populous region in the world, and has the highest rate of pregnancy loss. Therefore, understanding the risk factors for pregnancy loss in south Asia is crucial for planning effective interventions and thus mitigating the global pregnancy loss burden.

  • Gestational exposure to ambient PM2·5 significantly increased the risk for pregnancy loss, miscarriage, and stillbirth
  • Women who have pregnancy loss can be adversely affected physically and mentally. For instance, pregnancy loss increases the risk of postnatal depressive disorders and the probability of infant mortality during subsequent pregnancy
  • Worse air quality can increase the burden of pregnancy loss in low-income and middle-income countries compared with high-income countries
  • For the period 2000–16, 7.1% of annual pregnancy losses in south Asia were attributable to ambient air exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded India's air quality standard of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of small particulate matter (PM2.5).
  • For air pollution above WHO air quality guideline of 10 micrograms per cubic metre, exposure may have contributed to 29 per cent of pregnancy losses, according to the study.
  • Additionally, lower socioeconomic status (ie, rural vs urban residence) and older maternal age significantly enhanced the association between PM2·5 and pregnancy loss.

“Our findings suggest that a considerable proportion of the pregnancy loss burden in south Asia is attributable to exposure to ambient PM2· and that improving air quality would promote maternal and infant health globally,” the report states.

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