Green Spaces May Provide Women With a Healthier, More Positive Pregnancy Outcome

First Posted: Sep 05, 2014 11:23 PM EDT

Pregnant women may benefit from living in green spaces, according to recent findings published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Researchers found that the lack of air pollution, noise and neighborhood walkability in the areas makes it easier for the mother and the baby during this critical make or break time. 

"This was a surprise," said lead study author Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State, in a news 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."

For the study, researchers found that data from more than 64,000 showed that very pre-term births were 20 percent lower and moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants whose mothers were in neighborhoods with lots of green vegetation.

Findings also revealed that infants from greener neighborhoods were significantly less likely to be underweight at less than 45 grams.

"We know a lot about the negative influences such as living closer to major roads, but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really uplifting," said senior author Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia, in a news release. "With the high cost of healthcare, modifying urban design features such as increasing green space may turn out to be extremely cost-effective strategies to prevent disease, while at the same time also providing ecological benefits."

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