Pregnant women in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, who are exposed to poor air quality, may be at higher risk of stillbirths and miscarriages, according to a modelling study published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal on Thursday (January 7).
Researchers found that an estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses per year in south Asia were associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded India’s air quality standard of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre (?g/m3) of small particulate matter (PM2.5).
These account for 7 per cent of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016, they said.
For air pollution above WHO air quality guideline of of 10 ?g/m3, exposure may have contributed to 29 per cent of pregnancy losses, according to the study.
“South Asia has the highest burden of pregnancy loss globally and is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions in the world,” said study lead author Tao Xue, from Peking University, China.