A new study assessed how exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy affects health and examined the role of diet in physical and neuro-behavioural development in infancy.
They focused on motor and mental development during the first years of life caused by exposure to the hazardous pollution particle matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
"In the foetal phase the central nervous system is being formed and lacks sufficient detoxification mechanisms to eliminate the toxins that build up," pointed out researcher Aitana Lertxundi from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).
The monitoring study started in 2006 when the mothers were pregnant and is continuing today now that the children have reached the age of eight.
So far, samples taken from 638 pregnant women and their babies when they were 15 months old have been analysed.
The findings appeared in the journal Environment International