According to recent research, exposure to harmful chemicals during the first trimester of pregnancy may lead to lower IQ in children by the age of seven.
For the purposes of the study, a team of scientists measured 26 chemicals in the blood and urine samples taken from 718 mothers during their first trimester in the study of Swedish mothers and children (SELMA).
The following chemicals have been included in the list: bisphenol A (found in plastic containers for food and drinks), pesticide, phthalates, and other chemical found in consumer products.
The follow-up period, which lasted until the children turned 7, showed that those children whose mothers had higher levels of the listed chemicals in their body during pregnancy had lower IQ scores.
A new study, published in the Nature Communications, finds that black carbon particles can get into the part of the placenta that feeds the developing fetus.
To check the influence of the soot, a team of researchers examined placentas from 5 pre-term and 23 full-term births. With the help of high-resolution imaging, the scientists detected particles of black carbon in the fetal side of every placenta taken for examination.
Of all the participants, 10 mothers who lived in high traffic areas and were exposed to the highest levels of pollution during pregnancy had the highest levels of particles in the placenta.
The scientists write in their paper: “Our results demonstrate that the human placental barrier is not impenetrable for particles. Further research will have to show whether the particles cross the placenta and reach the fetus.”
A new study from York University in Toronto, Canada, suggests that consuming fluoridated water during pregnancy can be connected with the lower IQ in children born to women who were exposed to this kind of water.
For the study, the data from 601 pairs of mothers and their kids across Canada were included. The age of children was 3 to 4 and 41% of pairs resided in areas with fluoridated tap water.
The researchers conclude in their paper: “In this prospective birth cohort study, fluoride exposure during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. Fluoride exposure during pregnancy may be associated with adverse effects on child intellectual development, indicating the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.”
A new study from the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland suggests that it is unsafe to drink any quantity of alcohol during pregnancy as it blocks the growth of blood vessels in the placenta causing the risk for the baby to be born with low birth weight.
The study included rats to check the effect of alcohol. The alcohol exposure was associated with the risk of 17% lower birth weights and 32% less blood vessel growth in the placenta.
Study co-author Dr Jacinta Kalisch-Smith, a placental researcher at the University of Oxford, says: “This has implications for human health by helping to explain, in part, why babies exposed to alcohol in the womb are often born small. The next part of this project is to see whether nutrient supplementation can reduce or even prevent the adverse effects of alcohol exposure.”
New research from the Washington State University finds that mice that performed physical exercises during pregnancy gave birth to offspring that were less likely to gain weight from high-fat diet later in life.
In the study, the scientists examined the offspring of mice that were engaged in moderate-intensity exercise for 60 minutes every morning during pregnancy. A group of offspring born from non-exercising mice was considered as a control group.
Lead researcher Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student, says: “Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function.”
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