University of Cincinnati Study Links Air Pollution to Increased Risk of Preterm Birth

Emily DeFranco led a new study on preterm birthA number of recent studies have found a link between levels of air pollution exposure of mothers during pregnancy and the risk of autism in their children. Now a new study led by Emily DeFranco, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, shows a link between air pollution and the likelihood of preterm births.

Dr. DeFranco’s team examined 225,000 live births in Ohio between 2007 to 2010. Of these, there were 19,000 births that occurred before the 37th week of pregnancy. The data was compared to air pollution data in the neighborhoods where the mothers lived. Dr. DeFranco found that “although the risk increase is modest, the potential impact is robust, as all pregnant women are potentially at risk.”

Dr. DeFranco added that “decreasing the amount of particulate matter air below the EPAs standrad threshold could decrease preterm birth in women exposed to high levels of small particulates by about 17 percent.”

The study, “Exposure to Airborne Particulate Matter During Pregnancy Is Associated With Preterm Birth: A Population-Based Cohort Study,” was published in the journal Environmental Health. It may be accessed here.

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