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We found that poor air quality severe adverse effect

A multi-agency study revealed that poor air quality adversely affects the growth of the foetus in pregnant women. The study was conducted to find the adverse effects of air pollution on foetuses and newborns. The chairperson, department of neonatology, Institute of Child Health, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr Neelam Kler, who is part of the study, told this newspaper that during the study, the data of over 10,000 pregnant women who were living in various corners of Delhi was analysed and co-related with the air quality recorded in the monitoring station near their residences. “We found that poor air quality severe adverse effect on the growth and development of the foetus in the mother’s womb. We found that newborns were weighting 20 to 30 grams less than the newborns in previous years when air quality was comparatively better. Apart from weight, the overall growth of the foetus is affected in poor air quality,” added Dr Kler. According to Dr Kler, the study was conducted by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in association with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Indian Meteorol-ogical Department (IMD), and London School of Hygiene to explore the association China Aluminum scaffolding tower of air pollution with a neonate’s birth weight and gestational age.

Dr Kler said that the study established that toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other poisonous gases had not only adversely affected the growth of foetuses, but also led to premature birth. “Poor air quality affects the immune system of vulnerable groups and the study shows that a foetus which is still developing in the womb is also exposed to poor air quality,” she added. For the study, the records of 10,565 births in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the national capital were encoded and linked with real-time air quality data. These were records of women who reported a New Delhi address during the time of delivery. The distance of each address to all the monitoring stations were recorded. The birth records were assigned pollution exposure levels averaged across records from monitoring stations within 10 kilometres of the address during the pregnancy period. “For the study, maternal and neonatal data from 2007-2012 were encoded and linked with air pollution data based on distance to the nearest air quality monitoring station. For the outcome of study, completeness and accuracy of neonatal anthropometric measures, maternal demographic information, nutritional status and maternal risk factors (gestational diabetes, anaemia, hypertension, etc.) were assessed,” she said. Dr Kler also said that there is need to further analyse the figures and data in a bid to find of the long-term effects of air pollution among babies. The study was done with an objective to consider the feasibility of linking patient-level hospital data with ambient air pollution data recorded in real-time by air quality monitoring stations.

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