On the basis of a study conducted by Rutgers scientists, microscopic pollutants floating in the air are quite harmful for pregnant women, as the polluted air inhalation may cause damage to the development of fetal cardiovascular system.
The research findings appeared in the journal Cardiovascular Toxicology, established that beginning of the first trimester and ending a period of the third trimester were the vital stages when pollutants severely affect the cardiovascular system of both pregnant mothers and their fetuses.
Phoebe Stapleton—a faculty member at Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and assistant professor at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy of Rutgers University—stated the research findings propose that women under pregnancy and those going through fertility treatments have to avoid staying in the regions with high air pollution or to prevent themselves from such polluted exposure.
When mother inhales micropollutants comprising air, it directly affects the circulatory system. Those inhaled pollutants can restrict the blood flow by constricting the blood vessels, and an adequate amount of blood does not reach the growing fetus. The restricted blood flow to the uterus will possibly generate nutrient and oxygen-deficit conditions for the growing fetus. This condition may lead to several pregnancy complications like intrauterine growth restriction.
The researchers conducted clinical trials on pregnant rats, in which the rats were exposed to nano-sized aerosols of titanium dioxide in three trimesters. Later, the scientists compared the aerosols exposed rats with control pregnant rats and found that pollutant exposure in early fetus development stages had strongly impacted the umbilical vein and the main artery. While, the exposure during the second and third-trimester phases had majorly impacted the size of the fetus, as the limited blood supply from the mother made the fetus underdeveloped due to the nutrient-deficit condition.
It has also been observed in non-pregnant animals that even a single exposure of such nano-sized air pollutants possibly led to in-efficient functioning of arteries in the uterus.