Women living in Beijing during the Olympics from 2008 and being in the final stage of their pregnancy gave birth to babies weighing more compared to the women giving birth in a different period of time.
The reason for this was the fact that during the Olympics the air in the Chinese capital was kept as clean as possible. On a regular basis the air in Beijing is quite smoggy.
American scientists analysed the birth weight of 83,000 babies who were in their mother’s belly during the Olympics.
Chinese women from Beijing who were in the eight month of pregnancy in 2008 during the Summer Olympics weighed more with 23 grams compared to the babies who were born earlier or even later, discovered the research lead by David Q.Rich from the University of Rochester Medical Center.
However, women with pregnancies between one and seven months presented no such difference.
The final stage of a pregnancy is when the fetus grows the most physically and its goes through a faster development of its cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and central nervous systems. The research proved that air pollution is affecting the babies development in this period.
Earlier studies have shown that there is a connection between air pollution and the baby weight at birth but they did not reveal during which stage of the pregnancy the pollution has the greatest impact.
This fact doesn’t come as a surprise as the air is filled with dangerous chemicals such as sulphur dioxide or acid oxide. Once a person breaths all these chemicals in, they are assimilated into your blood. Many of these chemicals can reach the placenta and affect directly the baby, explained doctor Adrian Barnet pollution specialist at the Queensland University of Technology.
The news might come as an alarming factor for families living in Beijing who are worried about the negative effects pollution can have on their children. Many of these families have only one child and this situation might concern them, as families with babies are the most vulnerable, stated doctor Wei Li from the University of Sidney.
The babies with greater weights were born in a period which local Chinese people call the “Beijing blue”, referring to the 2008 Olympics. During the summer games the government took measures in cleaning the air and for 47 days cars were banned from the streets, factories were closed and several construction projects were shut down. During this time the air pollution notably lowered.
Air pollution is one of the main reasons families in Beijing are choosing to leave the city and move to a different country as they don’t want their children to live in a city where the air they breathe is toxic.
Beijing might be one of the most polluted cities on the planet but is not the only one and many other countries are facing this situation. The research shows that if air pollution is kept under control, even for short amounts of time, public health can improve.
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