Ambient air pollution and the risk of pregnancy loss

Air pollution exposure in early pregnancy linked to miscarriage

image of pregnancy loss

Exposure to common air pollutants, such as ozone and fine particles, may increase the risk of early pregnancy loss, according to a new study.

2017 Study Abstract

Objective
To estimate the association of pregnancy loss with common air pollutant exposure. Ambient air pollution exposure has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes, but few studies have investigated its relationship with pregnancy loss.

Design
Prospective cohort study.

Setting
Not applicable.

Patient(s)
A total of 343 singleton pregnancies in a multisite prospective cohort study with detailed protocols for ovulation and pregnancy testing.

Intervention(s)
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s)
Timing of incident pregnancy loss (from ovulation).

Result(s)
The incidence of pregnancy loss was 28% (n = 98). Pollutant levels at women’s residences were estimated using modified Community Multiscale Air Quality models and averaged during the past 2 weeks (acute) and the whole pregnancy (chronic). Adjusted Cox proportional hazards models showed that an interquartile range increase in average whole pregnancy ozone (hazard ratio [HR] 1.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–1.17) and particulate matter <2.5 μm (HR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03–1.24) concentrations were associated with faster time to pregnancy loss. Sulfate compounds also appeared to increase risk (HR 1.58, 95% CI 1.07–2.34). Last 2 weeks of exposures were not associated with loss.

Conclusion(s)
In a prospective cohort of couples trying to conceive, we found evidence that exposure to air pollution throughout pregnancy was associated with loss, but delineating specific periods of heightened vulnerability await larger preconception cohort studies with daily measured air quality.

More Information

  • Ambient air pollution and the risk of pregnancy loss: a prospective cohort study, Fertility and Sterility, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.09.037, November 16, 2017.
  • Air pollution exposure in early pregnancy linked to miscarriage, NIH study suggests, National Institutes of Health, news-releases, November 16, 2017.
  • Pregnancy loss featured image credit Heather Kittredge

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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