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Week in Review: Pollution, Pre-eclampsia, and Premature Birth

Posted by Lara Salahi  February 8, 2013 11:58 AM

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A roundup of this week’s pregnancy-related scientific research and news:

Birth defects among multiple birth doubled
It could be due to the increase in multiple births over the last two decades. It could be that women are waiting until their older to get pregnant, or it could be the increase in the number of pregnancies by assisted reproductive technologies. But a new study of 14 countries in Europe found that the number of birth defects among multiples has doubled since the 1980s. The study was published Tuesday in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Of the nearly 150,000 birth defects recorded between 1984 and 2007, nearly 4 percent were from multiple births. The number of birth defects from multiple births doubled over the study period. Physical abnormalities were the most commonly noted birth defect.

Pollution linked to increased risk of pre-eclampsia
One in 20 cases of pre-eclampsia may be linked to pregnant women’s exposure to air pollution during the first trimester, according to Swedish study published Wednesday in the journal BMJ Open. Pre-eclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure in pregnant women and protein in the urine. It is typically diagnosed in the second and third trimester and can lead to premature birth. Women with asthma wer 25 percent more likely to deliver prematurely than women without asthma, the study found. Poor air quality may worsen symptoms in women with asthma and inflammatory response, which could account for the higher risk of premature birth, according to the researchers.

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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