THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is significantly associated with delays in neurodevelopment, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

Ping Shih, from the National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei, and colleagues evaluated the association between ambient particulate matter ≤2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) during the prenatal and postnatal periods and infant neurodevelopmental parameters. The analysis included 17,683 term singletons without congenital malformations.

The researchers found that PM2.5 during the second trimester was associated with increased risks for delays in gross motor neurodevelopmental milestones (adjusted odds ratio, 1.09 per 10 μg/m3 increase in exposure to PM2.5). There were also associations of delayed fine motor development (adjusted odds ratio, 1.06) and personal-social skills with exposure to PM2.5 in the second and third trimesters (adjusted odds ratios, 1.11 for the second trimester and 1.06 for the third). There were no associations observed between neurodevelopmental parameters and postnatal PM2.5 exposure.

“Protection of children from air pollutants needs to be started during their mothers’ pregnancy,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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