A host of environmental factors can have a profound impact on the health of mothers and babies during pregnancy. From alterations to the immune system of expecting mothers to exposure to air pollution, a number of factors can affect the well-being of offspring. Below we list a number of articles and studies to increase awareness.
- Benefit of Early Initiation of Influenza Antiviral Treatment to Pregnant Women Hospitalized With Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza describes the impact of early initiation of influenza antiviral treatment among pregnant women hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza during the 2010–2014 influenza seasons. The study determines “that early initiation of influenza antiviral treatment to pregnant women hospitalized with influenza may reduce the length of stay, especially among those with severe influenza. Influenza during pregnancy is associated with maternal and infant morbidity, and annual influenza vaccination is warranted.”
- Pregnancy and Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases reviews 1,454 abstracts to determine the susceptibility to pregnant women to infectious diseases and the severity of the resulting disease. The study found that: “Disease severity seems higher with advanced pregnancy. Pregnant women may be more susceptible to acquisition of malaria, HIV infection, and listeriosis, although the evidence is limited. These results reinforce the importance of infection prevention as well as of early identification and treatment of suspected influenza, malaria, hepatitis E, and HSV disease during pregnancy.”
- Exposure to airborne particulate matter during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth: a population-based cohort study concludes “exposure to high levels of particulate air pollution, PM2.5, in pregnancy is associated with a 19 % increased risk of PTB; with greatest risk with high 3(rd) trimester exposure. Although the risk increase associated with high PM2.5 levels is modest, the potential impact on overall PTB rates is robust as all pregnant women are potentially at risk. This exposure may in part contribute to the higher preterm birth rates in Ohio compared to other states in the US, especially in urban areas.”
- Air Pollution Impacts on Infants and Children studies and the gives a grade of “C” for Southern California’s air pollution in relation to the health of pregnant women, infants and children. It says “until policies are implemented to achieve the air quality standards, vulnerable populations will continue to suffer from higher morbidity and mortality.”
- Prenatal Air Pollution and Reduced Birth Weight: Decline in Placental Mitochondria as a Potential Mechanism notes that strong epidemiological evidence links prenatal exposure to ambient air pollution and outcomes including low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm birth. It points to a new study that finds evidence that the association between prenatal air pollution exposure and reduced birth weight may be mediated in part by a decline in the mitochondrial content of the placenta.
- Weak Immune Response in Women May Raise Autism Risk in Children: Researchers rethink the link between infections in pregnant women and autism in children is written by Ann Griswold and appears at Scientific American. Griswold writes: Women who develop infections during pregnancy run an increased risk of having a child with autism. Most data indicate that an overactive maternal immune response underlies the risk. But a new analysis runs contrary to this view: It ties high levels of an inflammatory protein in pregnant women to a low risk of autism in their children, suggesting that a strong immune response is protective.
- The Next Generation’s Brains Are In Danger says that harmful toxic affecting children’s developing brains has doubled over the last seven years, according to researchers. It suggests that “In 2006, they published five chemicals that impact brain development. They are lead, methylmercury, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and toluene. With more throughout review, manganese; fluoride; tetrachloroethylene; polybrominated diphenyl ethers: dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT and chlorpyrifos, two pesticides which is widely used in agriculture have been added to the list.”