YOUR HEALTH: Pregnancy, pollution and problems

Being pregnant makes you vulnerable to a lot of infections.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 8:48 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Being pregnant makes you vulnerable to a lot of infections, but a new study from Texas A&M University found there may be a particular cause for an increased risk of respiratory viral infections, like the flu, in pregnant women.

The research found air pollution from things like wildfires, traffic, and even poor indoor air quality produces ultrafine particles, or UFPs, that can increase a pregnant woman’s risk of getting the flu.

Having the flu while pregnant increases the risk of low birth weight and even miscarriages.

There are things pregnant women can do to protect themselves. First, check the air quality in your area with weather apps or by going to Also, avoid going outside if the air quality is low as air pollutants can still be absorbed through the skin. Invest in a home air purifier and get the flu shot.

“When they vaccinate, it’s not just about them, but it’s also about the people very close to them,” said Sunjoo Ahn, PhD, associate professor of advertising at the University of Georgia.

Researchers said air pollution is responsible for one in nine deaths. Despite proof that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant women, less than 50% of pregnant women ever get the flu shot.

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