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Better air linked to fewer preterm births

Feb. 17, 2013 at 7:54 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Increased home ventilation could protect pregnant women against low-birth weight and preterm birth resulting from secondhand smoke, U.S. researchers say.

Jo Kay Ghosh of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California said opening windows more could lower the risk of pregnant women having low-birth weight and preterm births due to secondhand smoke and other indoor-source volatile organic compounds.

Ghosh and colleagues surveyed 1,761 Los Angeles mothers and evaluated the indoor air quality -- exposure to secondhand smoke, hairspray, insect spray and nail polish -- of their residences while they were pregnant.

The study, published online ahead of the April print edition of the American Journal of Public Health, found women with exposure to secondhand smoke at home were three times as likely to experience low-birth weights and were 92 percent more likely to have a preterm births compared to women who opened their windows for less than half a day.

The study also found women in non-smoking households, who infrequently opened their windows, had 49 percent higher chances of low-birth weight and 25 percent higher chances of preterm birth than non-smoking households with frequent ventilation.

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