Open windows, lower risk for preterm birth: study

February 14, 2013
Open windows, lower risk for preterm birth: study
Increased ventilation reduces exposure to secondhand smoke, chemicals, researchers say.

(HealthDay) —Opening the windows at home may help pregnant women reduce their risk for preterm birth or low birth weight, a new study indicates.

Researchers suggested the increase in fresh air could help protect expectant mothers from exposure to secondhand smoke and other volatile organic compounds that can be found indoors.

For the study, published online and in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers questioned more than 1,760 mothers in Los Angeles about the quality of air in their home while they were pregnant. They were asked about their exposure to secondhand smoke, how often they opened the windows and how often they used hairspray, insect spray and nail polish at home.

Although the researchers did not link the use of hairspray or other household products with preterm birth or low birth weight, they did find that opening the windows at home reduced the women's risk for these complications of pregnancy.

The study showed that women exposed to secondhand smoke at home who opened their windows for less than half the day were three times more likely to experience low birth weight and were 92 percent more likely to have a preterm birth.

Even if they were not exposed to secondhand smoke, women who didn't open their windows very often were 49 percent more likely to have a baby with low birth weight and 25 percent more likely to have a preterm delivery than women in homes with better ventilation.

"As there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, pregnant women should be advised to avoid secondhand smoke exposure whenever possible, or mitigate secondhand smoke exposure by limiting smoking by household members to outdoor spaces or ventilating their home," the authors wrote.

While the study found an association between opening windows and preterm birth, it did not establish a cause-and-effect link.

Explore further: Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on preterm birth.

Related Stories

Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain

May 2, 2011
Exposure to secondhand smoke, such as a person can get by riding in an enclosed car while someone else smokes, has a direct, measurable impact on the brain—and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the ...

Smoking ban reduced maternal smoking and preterm birth risk

May 10, 2012
A citywide ban on public smoking in Colorado led to significant decreases in maternal smoking and preterm births, providing the first evidence in the U.S. that such interventions can impact maternal and fetal health, according ...

Recommended for you

Newly deciphered vitamin D regulatory pathway opens doors to clinical research

August 21, 2017
Biochemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have deciphered the molecular mechanisms that underpin how the synthesis of the active form of vitamin D is regulated in the kidney, summing up decades of research in this ...

Clay-based antimicrobial packaging keeps food fresh

August 21, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if fresh fruits, vegetables and meats go bad in the blink of an eye. Consumers are left feeling frustrated, often turning to less expensive processed foods that last longer but are less nutritious. Now ...

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.