According to the Japanese, a woman living in the proximity of a major road has more chances of giving birth prematurely than another one from a more secluded area. Although, so far, nobody disputes the findings, none of the people who have a say in the matter don't seem to agree (or pinpoint) on the cause.
Of course, babies don't come into this world because of the heavy, fast traffic near the place they live (or, who knows). Scientists say the most likely causes for a premature birth (anywhere in between 32 and 28 weeks) in such areas are air pollution (which causes high blood pressure and inflammation, which in turn may lead to premature rupture of the membranes), sound pollution and so on.
The study looked into 14,000 babies born between 1997 and 2008 in Shizuoka, Japan. It was found that the number of women living within 200 meters of a major road who gave birth before 37 weeks is 5 percent higher than for those living farther away.
"In addition, we found a higher risk in housewives than outside workers, and housewives would probably spend more time at home during their pregnancy, and reflect more accurate exposure," Yorifuji was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Air pollution is considered to be a potentially important risk factor of preterm births."