Posts Tagged ‘ environmental factors ’

Pregnant? Grass and Trees Can Lead to a Healthier Baby!

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Mothers living in greener neighborhoods more likely to have healthy babiesGreen is good—especially if you’re having a baby, new research shows.

Babies born to moms who live in areas with lots of grass and trees are more likely to be born healthy—and at 40 weeks—than those born to mothers who live in cities with less green space, according to a study from Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.

The study looked at 64,000 births and found that very preterm births were 20 percent lower for moms who lived in greener neighborhoods. Moderate preterm births were lower, too—by 13 percent.

They also found that babies from the greener neighborhoods weighed about 1 1/2 ounces more at birth than infants from less green neighborhoods, Science Daily reports.

You might be thinking that factors like noise, pollution, and neighborhood income would play more of a role in a baby’s weight and delivery time, but the researchers actually adjusted results to leave out those factors and even still, it was all about the greenery.

“This was a surprise,” said Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”

While researchers aren’t sure what it is specifically about the amount of green space that helps to develop a healthy baby, there is speculation that living in that sort of environment could reduce stress and depression, or provide more opportunities for social interaction for soon-to-be-moms.

Babies that are born preterm or are underweight at birth can have more developmental and health problems as they grow older.

Pregnant? Follow our week-by-week guides for health advice, planning and more. (And don’t forget to sign up in your Due Date Club!)

Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor

Photo of baby in grass courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Environment, Genes May Carry Equal Weight in Autism

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The environmental factors a child are exposed to may hold as much weight as genetics in predicting whether that child develops an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new British study.  More from Reuters:

Sven Sandin, who worked on the study at King’s College London and Sweden’s Karolinska institute, said it was prompted “by a very basic question which parents often ask: ‘If I have a child with autism, what is the risk my next child will too?’”

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), suggest heritability is only half the story, with the other 50 percent explained by environmental factors such as birth complications, socio-economic status, or parental health and lifestyle.

The study also found that children with a brother or sister with autism are 10 times more likely to develop the condition, three times if they have a half-brother or sister with autism, and twice as likely if they have a cousin with autism.

“At an individual level, the risk of autism increases according to how close you are genetically to other relatives with autism,” said Sandin. “We can now provide accurate information about autism risk which can comfort and guide parents and clinicians in their decisions.”

People with autism have varying levels of impairment across three common areas: social interaction and understanding, repetitive behavior and interests, and language and communication.

The exact causes of the neurodevelopmental disorder are unknown, but evidence has shown it is likely to include a range of genetic and environmental risk factors.

Image: Baby, via Shutterstock

What’s your toddler nutrition IQ?

Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

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