Effect of air pollution on Pregnancy loss : Lancet study

Effect of air pollution on Pregnancy loss Lancet study

News: Lancet has released a first of its kind study to estimate the effect of air pollution on pregnancy loss across the South Asia region.


  • About the Study: The study 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 modelling outputs.

Key Highlights of the Study:

Air Quality and Pregnancy Loss:

  • Poor air quality is associated with a considerable proportion of pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
  • 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 µg/m³) accounting for 7% of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016.
  • Gestational exposure to PM2.5 was also associated with an increased likelihood of pregnancy loss and this remained significant after adjusting for other factors.
    • Each increase in 10 µg/m³ was estimated to increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by 3%. The increase in risk was greater for mothers from rural areas or those who became pregnant at an older age, compared to younger mothers from urban areas.

How Air Quality Can Cause Pregnancy Loss?

  • The reason behind the air pollution to cause pregnancy loss is that the fine particles have been reported to cross the blood placenta barrier and harm the embryo directly.
  • Exposure to poor air quality can cause disorders such as inflammation, oxidative stress and blood pressure elevation which can act as factors to increase the risk of pregnancy loss.

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