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Global Study: Air Pollution Exposure Linked To Smaller Birth Size

Based on an analysis of more than 3 million births from around the world, researchers announced that more exposure to air pollution apparently correlates with low birth weights. This study has big implications for Ohio mothers - numerous complications and health conditions can affect babies with low birth weight.

While this research does not necessarily show a cause-and-effect relationship, it does demonstrate a consistent link between pollution and a higher risk of prematurity-related complications like cerebral palsy.

The study compared birth statistics with the amounts of recorded air pollution in specific geographic areas - primarily from vehicle emissions. When the researchers combined the data, the results showed a "significantly greater risk of having a baby with a low birth weight."

Low birth weights of 5.5 pounds or less often lead to serious medical problems. These issues include respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), retinopathy of prematurity, cerebral palsy and bleeding in the brain. Bleeding in the brain is particularly dangerous for newborns because it can cause brain damage.

In many cases, effective and diligent medical care can delay a premature delivery until the infant is sufficiently developed to avoid these problems. All families are entitled to this level of care - if a doctor or midwife's mistake led to a premature delivery, the child may be entitled to compensation. An experienced birth injuries lawyer can help families explore their legal options.

Source: HealthDay, "Smog Exposure During Pregnancy Tied to Tinier Babies," Feb. 6, 2013

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