Could Air Pollution Cause High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy?

Scientists are now discovering that there may be environmental reasons why some women suffer from high blood pressure during their pregnancy. A new study has shown that pregnant women who live in an area where the levels of air pollution are high are more likely to develop conditions affecting their wellness and wellbeing in pregnancy, such as high blood pressure.


Previous research has shown that around one in ten pregnant women develop high blood pressure. This is generally referred to as gestational hypertension and it increases the risk of needing a caesarian section to deliver the baby. It also increases the risk of the baby being born early, or having a low birth weight.


The results of the study, according to lead researcher Dr. Xiaohui Xu, showed that air pollution does make some kind of contribution to the risk of developing gestational hypertension. This could lead to ongoing health problems for the mother and baby, even after the pregnancy is complete.


It is important to note, however, that this was just a pilot study, meaning that it was simply to test the simple question of whether or not air pollution had an effect on maternal blood pressure. Having ascertained this, there are now many unanswered questions about why this should be the case and what the effect is on the long-term health of mothers and babies who live in areas with high air pollution.


The researchers looked at date relating to women who were suffering or had suffered from gestational hypertension, and then this information was linked to their address data, and these addresses were looked at in relation to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency about the quality of the air. It was found that women with gestational hypertension were more likely to live in areas where the air quality was poor.

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