Exposure to air pollution is associated with elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. We assessed the associations of exposure to particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels with blood pressure measured in each trimester of pregnancy and the risks of pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia in 7006 women participating in a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands. Information on gestational hypertensive disorders was obtained from medical records. PM10 exposure was not associated with first trimester systolic and diastolic blood pressure, but a 10-μg/m increase in PM10 levels was associated with a 1.11-mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43 to 1.79) and 2.11-mm Hg (95% CI 1.34 to 2.89) increase in systolic blood pressure in the second and third trimester, respectively. Longitudinal analyses showed that elevated PM10 exposure levels were associated with a steeper increase in systolic blood pressure throughout pregnancy (P<0.01), but not with diastolic blood pressure patterns. Elevated NO2exposure was associated with higher systolic blood pressure levels in the first, second, and third trimester (P<0.05), and with a more gradual increase when analyzed longitudinally (P<0.01). PM10 exposure, but not NO2exposure, was associated with an increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension (odds ratio 1.72 [95% CI 1.12 to 2.63] per 10-μg/m increase). In conclusion, our results suggest that air pollution may affect maternal cardiovascular health during pregnancy. The effects might be small but relevant on a population level.

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doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.164087, hdl.handle.net/1765/33709
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam