Researchers know that air pollution may have negative effects on fetal and child health. It is also known that maternal mental state also affect fetal and child health. Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health recently published a study in the journal Pediatrics that combines the two.
A birth cohort study of 248 children was used to collect data from fetal stages to nine years of age. All mothers were non-smokers and living in a coal-burning area in Poland. Three reporting points were used – prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), maternal demoralization and child behavior.
Conclusion: Researchers found a connection between elevated prenatal PAH exposure and child behavior in mothers exposed to maternal demoralization. There was no connection between the two in women with lower prenatal PAH exposure leading researchers to believe a multifaceted prevention and/or treatment campaign may best serve patients in areas affected by air pollution.
Source: Perera FP, Wang S, Rauh V, Zhou H, Stigter L, Camann D, Jedrychowski W, Mroz E, Majewska R. Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution, Maternal Psychological Distress, and Child Behavior. Pediatrics. 2013 Oct 7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3844.