Health Tips » How Air Pollution Impacts Pregnancy
Author: Akshay Sharma | Novermber 9th, 2017
Pregnancy happens to be one of the most memorable and life-changing landmarks in the life of every woman. This is an exciting time that you spend by dreaming about what the future has in hold for your growing family, deciding your kids’ names and sharing the joy with your family and friends.
But there are also lots of concerns about how you can take care about the health of your baby before and after he or she is born. You already know that you have to pay regular visit to your gynaecologist, to consume regular parental vitamins and avoid certain foods prior to the birth.
However, there is one more factor that you need to consider, in this case, and that is how you can protect your baby from the rampant air pollution. It is not possible for you to avoid all types of air pollution. But it is always advisable that you have prime knowledge about the various kinds of air pollutants and how they affect your pregnancy and therefore, how to mitigate the health risks of you and your child.
Air pollutants are present everywhere whether you live in a rural town, a suburb or a big city. You cannot detect pollution by smelling or seeing it. Now that you are pregnant, it is almost vital that you take extra precautions to protect against this pollution that can have a number of adverse effects on your health.
The yet-to-be born babies are even at a higher risk for developing health problems. None of the pieces of information is meant to scare you. But the only motive, in this case, is to enhance your awareness so that you can take steps to reduce your child’s health risks.
Smog and Ground-level Ozone – The ozone layer protects us from the harmful rays of the sun and is naturally not harmful. But trouble peeps in when natural and man-made emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) chemically interact to form ground level ozone. Smog is formed when particulate matters, sunlight and heat combine with ground level ozone. It has been revealed through research that exposure to ozone can actually increase the chances of infant mortality, as well as low birth weight. Apart from that, they are also prone to developing Asthma. Moreover, there is also a chance for pregnant women who are exposed to ground-level ozone to develop Preeclampsia which results in high blood pressure that can affect both the mom and the baby.
Secondhand Tobacco Smoke – It is not a hidden fact that tobacco is harmful to each and every one. If you have smoked prior to getting pregnant then your doctor actually advises you to quit. But quitting or not smoking is not the only way to protect your baby from its adverse effects. The secondhand smoke from the family, friends and passers-by can still have a harmful impact on your health and that of your baby. This is capable of causing a low birth weight, a miscarriage, learning or behavioural deficiencies in your kid, early birth and even SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Particulate Matter – The natural emissions as well as emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and various types of VOCs can form particulate matters. Exposure to these particulate matters can cause respiratory and cardio-vascular health issues. The consequences may include low birth weight as well as infant mortality.
Dust – This happens to be one of the commonest forms of indoor pollutions and can give rise to allergic reactions.
Pollens- These elements are something that you can find both inside and outside your home. High levels of exposure to pollens can increase the baby’s chance to develop Asthma.
Combustion Pollutants – Dryers, gas stoves, fireplaces and space heaters release the combustion pollutants like nitrogen dioxide as well as carbon mono-oxide that can cause serious health problem to both the baby and mom. Exposure to these reduces the capability of the mother’s blood to carry oxygen as a result of which the developing foetus can be deprived of oxygen. Long term exposure to CO during the first trimester can lead to reduced foetal growth, otoacoustic deficits and preterm birth.
The potential dangers that your baby may face as a result of this may include the following:
Premature Baby –Exposure to these pollutants can lead to preterm birth that in turn, can lead to a number of permanent physical disabilities and neurological disorders.
Low Birth Weight – This one reveals quite shocking data and the specific complication arises because of continuous exposure to pollution.
Asthma –Pollution triggers the onset of Asthma that can cause Preeclampsia leading to high blood pressure and reduced function of kidney and liver. Your baby also has the chance of developing this condition later in life because of this.
Autism –It has been seen through research that women who are exposed to pollution caused by high particulate matter especially in their third trimester are more likely to deliver a child with autism.
Fertility Problems – Several studies have brought to light the fact that air pollution plays a vital role in reducing the fertility rates in both males and females.
It is a priority to keep your child safe and healthy and hence take maximum protection against pollution. Though it is not possible to completely eliminate pollution but you can limit your exposure by practicing the following:
Try to Avoid Exercising in the High-Traffic Areas – The ground level ozone and particulate matters are often heavier near the streets due to the presence of gases. So you should try to avoid those area for exercising or even a walk.
Checkout the Air-Quality News Reports of Your Area on a Daily Basis –You must check this on a daily basis so that you know when to stay indoors and when to venture outside.
Stay Away from Cleaning Products and Paint Fumes – Irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not it is vital to stay away from toxic cleaning products and paint fumes. You should allow a friend or a family member to do the heavy cleaning while you are a pregnant.
Try to Keep Your Home Dust and Mould-Free – Keeping your home at proper humidity levels and dusting regularly will help to keep these at bay.
Try to Change the Air Filters Every Once in a While –The heat units and the air condition can entrap mould, animal dander, dust and dirt and so it is vital to change the filters on a regular basis. Changing these prevents the air pollutants from releasing into the air.
Keep the Stress Levels Low – Lastly, it is vital to keep the stress levels low during this time as stress can amplify the ill-effects of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Now that you know about the dire consequences that air pollution can make you face and the steps that you can undertake to stay protected from the resulting dangers, you should abide by them carefully as this is question of your and your baby’s health. Just like the best pregnancy test kit is crucial to detect your pregnancy, these steps are also necessary for protection and good health of your baby.
AKshay Sharma is a digital marketing enthusiast and has written many topics in the related field. He works with Smart Medical Buyer, one of India's largest online stores for medical products. Buy medical equipment, pregnancy test kit, instruments, supplies & consumables online in India at the best price from here.