Air pollution raises risk of pregnancy loss in India, south
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Poor air quality is associated with a considerable proportion of pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, according to a modeling study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, which says such losses are more common in north India and Pakistan. An estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses per year in south Asia were associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded India’s air quality standard (more than 40 g/m³), accounting for 7% of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016, the study says.

For air pollution above WHO air quality guidelines, exposure may have contributed to 29% of pregnancy losses. Although WHO’s guidelines aim for a safer level of air pollution, the authors note that India’s standard is a more realistic target level, given the high average levels of air pollution in the region and the need to balance practical governance and public health.

The researchers included 34,197 women who had lost a pregnancy, including 27,480 miscarriages and 6,717 stillbirths, which were compared to live birth controls. Of the pregnancy loss cases, 77% were from India, 12% from Pakistan, and 11% from Bangladesh. The authors combined data from household surveys on health from 1998-2016 (from women who reported at least one pregnancy loss and one or more live births) and estimated exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy through combining satellite with atmospheric modeling outputs.

They created a model to examine how exposure to PM2.5 increased women’s risk of pregnancy loss, calculating risk for each 10 g/m³ increased in PM2.5 after adjusting for maternal age, temperature and humidity, seasonal variation, and long-term trends in pregnancy loss. Using this association, they calculated the number of pregnancy losses that may have been caused by PM2.5 in the whole region for the period 2000–16 and looked at how many pregnancy losses might have been prevented under India’s and WHO’s air quality standard (40 g/m³ and 10 g/m³, respectively).

Gestational exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an increased likelihood of pregnancy loss, and this remained significant after adjusting for other factors. Each increase in 10 g/m³ was estimated to increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by 3%, the study says.

Lead study author says: “South Asia has the highest burden of pregnancy loss globally and is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions in the world. Our findings suggest that poor air quality could be responsible for a considerable burden of pregnancy loss in the region, providing further justification for urgent action to tackle dangerous levels of pollution.”

Source:https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/air-pollution-raises-risk-of-pregnancy-loss-in-india-south-asia-lancet-study/story-Gfnrtiq4OnCDrtX52bSeEL.html
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