Poor air quality makes pregnancy risky

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A seven per cent of pregnancy loss in South Asia is preventable if the quality of air in the region is improved, according to a study in the Lancet. The study showed that pregnant women in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are at a higher risk of stillbirths and miscarriages because of poor air quality.

The Lancet study noted that about 3,49,681-pregnancy loss yearly in South Asia happened due to exposure to PM2.5 concentrations. It reported 77 per cent pregnancy loss cases for 2000-2016 from India. Pakistan accounted for 12 per cent and Bangladesh 11 per cent. The study analysed 34,197 women who had lost a pregnancy (27,480 miscarriages 6,717 stillbirths)

The study noted that more loss was common in Northern plains of India and Pakistan.

Several studies have come up earlier relating pregnancy and air pollution. This is the first time that the study on the South Asia is highlighted.

Looking at the global scenario, South Asia has the highest pregnancy loss and is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions.

Lead study author Dr Tao Xue (Peking University, China) said that study showed the urgent need to take actions in tackling the dangerous air pollution levels.

The researchers created a model by combining data from household surveys on health from 1998 2016 and estimated exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy.

The study also showed that a pregnancy loss had mental, physical and economic effects on women.

There were chances of post-natal depressive disorders and infant mortality during subsequent pregnancy.

The researchers maintained that an increase of 10 ig/m would increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by three per cent. They also noted that the risk was higher in women living in rural regions and those who become pregnant at an older age.

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