Over half of unborn babies are exposed to increasing levels of toxic air pollution, according to a new study by Opinium.
Car use during pregnancy has been found to have put unborn babies at risk, with nearly double the pollution inside a car than outside.
The study found that 57 percent of mums use cars more in the later stages of pregnancy, which means that 2.6 million unborn babies may have been exposed to extra air pollution since 2013.
The data has been released by Opinium to celebrate Clean Air Day, organised by Global Action Plan. The environment charity is hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution.
Senior partner at Global Action Plan, Chris Large, stated;
"The rest of society needs to recognise that for pregnant women sometimes travelling in a car is the only option and that we all have a role to play in reducing the pollution affecting the next generation."
"In the same way we would consider smoking in front of pregnant women as harmful to the babies' health, so should we think of idling in our cars so causing unnecessary pollution as equally socially unacceptable," Chris explained.
Global Action Plan claims the study indicates that higher levels of nitrogen dioxide increases the risk of miscarriage by 16 percent.
Opinium research showed that only 16 percent of mums were able to work from home regularly in the third trimester, due to a lack of employer support or location issues.
Professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London, Jonathan Grigg. said;
"Air pollution is having a devastating impact on the lives of everyone, particularly children, and embryos. These health impacts can include increased risk of developing pneumonia and asthma, and lower lung function growth."
He added; "This just illustrates how vital it is that we all take action to reduce air pollution, and the need for more stringent standards and policies to address this issue."
Research released by First Bus has shown that 57 percent of people are worried about levels of air pollution but 37 percent still drive to work every day.
87 percent are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment but most people still find that driving is faster and more convenient.
Just eight percent of car users would consider using public transport instead, and only six percent would car share or car-pool.