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Both ozone and particulate matter exposures during pregnancy and in postpartum period tied to increased risk

Long-term exposure to air pollution, during pregnancy and after, is associated with higher postpartum depression (PPD) risk, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Yi Sun, Ph.D., from Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, and colleagues examined the associations between antepartum and postpartum maternal air pollution exposure and PPD. The analysis included electronic health record data from 340,679 women who had singleton live births from 2008 through 2016.

The researchers found that 7.54 percent of women had PPD, with increased risks associated with per-interquartile range increases in antepartum and postpartum exposures to ozone (O3; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.09; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.06 to 1.12), particulate matter ≤10 μm (PM10; aOR, 1.02; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.04), and PM ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5; aOR, 1.02; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.03). No association was seen for nitrogen dioxide. The main association for PPD risk was with PM2.5 organic matter and black carbon. PPD risk was associated with O3 during both the entire pregnancy and postpartum periods, while the risk from PM exposure was seen during the late pregnancy and postpartum periods.

“These findings suggest that long-term antepartum and postpartum air pollution exposure is a potentially modifiable environmental risk factor for PPD and an important public health issue to address for improved maternal mental health,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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