Pregnant woman

A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Sciences found that pregnant women who live in urban areas with more grass and trees surrounding their homes, were less at risk of exposure to harmful environmental pollutants than women with less plant life in their immediate area.

Traffic-related air pollution poses serious health risks to unborn children that can affect their development causing lower birth weight, heart deformities and even infant mortality.

The study, coming out of Spain, is one of the first of its kind to look at the impact urban green spaces have in minimizing particle pollutants. Researchers looked at vegetation around the homes of more than 50 pregnant women as well as the women’s exposure to traffic related air pollution. The women wore nitric oxide and particulate-matter measuring devices and levels of the pollutants were also measured separately in the immediate area. The women kept a diary of their location for the time they wore the devices. Women who lived in areas with more flora surrounding their homes had lower levels of detectable pollution than the women who had less flora around their homes.

The researchers also found that women who had more green space in the immediate area spent an average of 12 minutes more outdoors each day than women who had less flora exposure. The air pollution levels were even lower when the women spent time outdoors.

Recent research also found that people living in greener areas were less likely to develop seasonal allergies and asthma than those who live in urban areas.

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Image: Black Photo Studio