Women in high-rise flats risk miscarriage

WOMEN who live high up in tower blocks appear twice as likely to miscarry during pregnancy than those who live on lower floors, according to a Japanese survey of more than 400 young women, writes Liz Hunt.

Overall, 1 in 10 of the group had suffered miscarriages. However, 1 in 5 of those living on the fifth floor or above had experienced a miscarriage compared to just under 9 per cent on the second, third and fourth floors, and 6 per cent on the ground and first floors.

The report in New Scientist says lack of exercise and the stress of living in a small space may be responsible for the higher miscarriage rates of the upper floors.

Fumio Osaka, of Tokyo University, who conducted the research, said: 'Women who live higher up just don't go out so often because it is too much trouble. That leads to a lack of exercise and a build-up of stress.' Excessive smoking or drinking among the higher-floor dwellers was not to blame, he added.

Mr Osaka has extended the study to include 1,000 women living in tower blocks. Preliminary findings followed the same trend.