Thursday, June 13, 2024
Woman's Health

Air Pollution and Pregnancy and Tips on How to Stay Safe

Photograph by Lisa Runnels 

 Pregnancy heralds a new beginning of life for any woman. Naturally, there are some things that the would-be-mother should be careful about during this period. And this does not mean avoiding only the alcohol and the seafood.

Today, the technological advancements and easy accessibility to the various luxuries have eased out the day-to-day life struggles to a great extent. But instead, they have also posed some life-threatening hazards that have taken a toll on both our health as well as our overall wellbeing.

Air pollution happens to be one such adversary that has proved to be a continuous intimidation to life and researchers reveal that pregnant women are those who are most vulnerable to it. So let’s try to find out what air pollution is, the impacts it has and how you can avoid it or decrease your exposure to it.

What is Air Pollution?

There are many forms of air pollution. The typically polluted air comprises of particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, dust, building emissions, vehicle exhaust, secondhand smoke, and chemicals.

Some of the significant symptoms that you get when you are exposed to massive air pollution are

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Respiratory ailments including Asthma, Bronchitis, and Emphysema
  • Breath Shortness and Decreased Capacity of Lungs
  • Irritation in the Eye and Sinus
  • Cancer
  • Lung and Heart Damage

Although babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with the respiratory disease are most prone to air pollution according to research data, it also has some impact or the other on each and every person.

Disadvantages of Being Exposed to Air Pollution during Pregnancy

Several studies have been carried out on the effects that air pollution has on pregnant women and their babies. Just have a look at them to get an idea about them and why you need to protect from air pollution.

  • Premature Baby

    A study conducted by some renowned institutions reveal that more than two million children get prematurely born every year, and the primary reason for this is air pollution. This means a good percentage of all preterm births are due to exposure to infection of the particulate matter. Premature babies always undergo a risk of physical disabilities and neurological disorders. Though this can happen to anyone, still it is advisable to the pregnant women to avoid air pollution.

  • Asthma

    Asthma is aggravated by air pollution. This can wreak havoc on pregnant women as it is capable of causing a condition that involves decreased the functioning of the kidneys and liver and elevated blood pressure which is better known as preeclampsia. If this disease is managed in the right way, then there should be no problem. But if Asthma is not treated then it can cause some issues like premature birth, lack of oxygen, reduced birth weight and poor health. There is also a chance of your child developing Asthma in their later life if the placenta gets breached by pollution of particulate matter.

  • Fertility Issues

    You should be very careful with the air you breathe if you are thinking of expanding your family. A multitude of studies has put forward that air pollution reduces the rates of fertility.  In fact, there is also evidence where air pollution leads to miscarriages.

Tips to Protect from Air Pollution While Pregnant

Though it is not possible to protect yourself and your baby entirely from air pollution here are precautionary measures that you can take.

  • Avoid Peak Hours of Pollution 

    During the peak traffic times, you should try to stay indoors to avoid the exposure to relentless air pollution. You should also not be out of the house in the afternoon as the excessive heat reduces the air quality to a great extent.

  • Follow the Air Quality Advisory Warnings of Your Area

    Keep a regular check on the Air Quality Index of your area by searching for it online with the particular zip code. This way you can know whether you need to be concerned and take precautions. Even a light air may be extraordinarily contaminated, and so you need to check the AQI on a regular basis.

  • Doors and Windows should be closed at Peak Hours 

    This is especially true if your residence is situated near a busy road. Under such circumstances, you should purchase an air purifier.

  • Change the Routes of Your Walks 

    Walking is of crucial significance at the time of pregnancy, but you should ensure that you walk in parks or maybe even a cemetery away from the hustle of the busy The density of pollution decreases with every step away from the traffic corridor.

  • Keep the Respiratory Tract Moist by Drinking Loads of Water 

    This will certainly help you in your battle against air pollution.

Air pollution can have many adverse effects on your as well as your child’s health, and that is why you must be very careful and take precautionary measures to protect against it. Just like a quality pregnancy test kit is essential to detect your pregnancy. Similarly, these steps are imperative for maintaining the health of yours and your baby.

by Akshay Sharma

Andreas Michaelides

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