Air Pollution Linked to Rise in NICU Admissions.

Position:NEWBORNS - Newborn intensive care unit

Infants born to women exposed to high levels of air pollution in the week before delivery are more likely to be admitted to a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Depending on the type of pollution, chances for NICU admission increased from about four percent to as much as 147%, compared to infants whose mothers did not encounter high levels of air pollution.

"If our findings are confirmed, they suggest that pregnant women may want to consider limiting their time outdoors when air quality advisories indicate unhealthy conditions," says study leader Pauline Mendola of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Previous studies have linked elevated levels of certain kinds of air pollutants to higher risks for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder of pregnancy. Earlier research also has shown that infants born to women exposed to high levels of air pollutants are at risk for...

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