Breathing outside polluted air increases a pregnant mother’s risk of developing hypertension, according to a study from the University of Florida.
Researchers examined medical data from more than 22,000 women pregnant between 2004 and 2005, and environmental data from the same period. They found mothers heavily exposed to four air pollutants were more likely to develop a high blood pressure condition, like preeclampsia, during pregnancy. Researchers also found these pollutants may be just as toxic to mothers as cigarette smoke.
“Fetal development is very sensitive to environmental factors,” researcher Xiaohui Xu, MD, PhD, was quoted as saying. “Hypertension (high blood pressure), in particular, is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, causing a lot of problems for the mother and fetus, including preterm delivery.”