November 7, 2020 1:30:46 pm
By Dr. Pratibha Singhal
Every year, winter begins automatically with problems with air, poor respiration and vision. Have we ever realized that air pollution can adversely affect the health of a expecting mother and fetal development? Residents and hospitals have begun to report spikes in respiratory diseases, especially children complaining of shortness of breath and other breathing problems.
It is important to understand that air pollution comes in many forms. Typically, air pollution includes ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, vehicle exhaust, building exhaust, smoke, dust, and old chemicals. This toxic substance irritates the lungs, eyes and throat, making it difficult to breathe. While the larger particles may cough or sneeze out of the body, the smaller particles tend to become trapped in the lungs and into the bloodstream.
There is already enough evidence to say that air pollution affects pregnancy. According to a 2018 study conducted in Chennai and surrounding districts with 1,285 pregnant women, exposure to a pregnant woman with every 10 µg / m3 increase in PM 2.5 could lead to a loss of 4 grams of weight. at birth of the baby. PM 2.5 are fine particulate matter found in air with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less and are known to pose the greatest risk to humans. On average, Delhi’s PM 2.5 measures between 100 and 180 10 µg / m3, more than 10 times the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO). The average estimate of neonatal weight is a 72-gram increase, which means you can expect somewhere to gain around 70 to 80 grams of infant birth weight if they are. [pregnant women] live in a cleaner area.
Risks associated with air pollution and pregnancy
The fetus receives oxygen from the mother and breathes polluted air, which affects the fetus. Exposure to polluted outdoor air before conception or during the early months of pregnancy can lead to premature birth or birth defects of the brain and spine. What’s more, it can cause the baby to be underweight and may increase the baby’s risk of disease.
Air pollution increases the risk of miscarriage. Recently, the British newspaper The Guardian has published an article showing that air pollution can have a negative effect such as smoking increases the risk of miscarriage. It claims that increased levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution increase the risk of miscarriage by 16%. Another study revealed that exposure to ammonium sulfate during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and stillbirth. Sulfate is mainly generated from coal burning, while ammonium is derived from ammonia, generated from agricultural, automotive and animal emissions.
Read| The Effects of Air Pollution on Children: A Guide for Parents
Low birth weight
The result of pregnancy is 2.5 to 3 kg of newborn at the ideal 38-40 weeks. Infants under 2.5 kg are considered “underweight”. Exposure to air pollution leads to low birth weight infants. However, it is not clear which trimester is most susceptible to air pollution. Exposure to ozone during pregnancy can result in your baby being born at low birth weight. Ozone is a gas produced from car smoke, gasoline and smoke from factories and chemicals.
Premature babies have a high risk of adverse long-term consequences. According to a study by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) at York University, nearly 3 million babies are born premature each year because of air pollution. That means 18% of all annual preterm births are associated with exposure to particulate matter contamination.
Autism is a disorder that develops in children, and there is currently no cure. There has been an association between exposure to air pollution in pregnant women and autism in children. An alarming Harvard study found that women exposed to high particulate pollution during their third trimester had a double risk of having a baby with autism.
Asthma is a recurrent wheezing condition that requires constant medical attention. Air pollution worsens asthma. In pregnant women, this can be dangerous because asthma can cause preeclampsia, a condition that increases blood pressure and reduces the function of the liver and kidneys. Untreated asthma can cause your baby to be hypoxic, leading to slow growth, premature birth and low birth weight. Research also found that exposure to air pollution can increase a baby’s chances of developing asthma later.
If you’re planning on starting or expanding a family, you may need to be careful with the air you breathe. Many studies have determined that air pollution contributes to lower fertility rates in men and women. Some studies have also linked air pollution with miscarriage.
Tips for mothers and expectant families
Every potential threat to your and your baby’s health cannot be avoided, but there are many things you can do to reduce your exposure to air pollution. The first and foremost is the flu shot. The exact timing and timing of the flu seasons can vary, but if you’re waiting for the right time to get your flu vaccine then reality is right now. Yes, October or early November is the best month to get the flu shot to get maximum protection against the flu virus. It takes about two weeks to develop enough antibodies from the flu vaccine to protect you against the flu. Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of getting sick by 40 to 60% and also reduces the severity of illness if you get sick. If you miss a flu shot in October, you should get it whenever you can. For pregnant mothers, the flu shot should be given before 26 weeks of gestation.
Limit outdoor activities and if venturing outdoors, always wear a mask.
Use an inhaler for people with asthma.
Practicing hand, eye and face hygiene anytime, anywhere.
Take immune booster pills and drink plenty of fluids, including a healthy diet rich in Vitamin C along with green leafy vegetables.
Buy air purifiers – These devices remove everything from smoke, allergens to molds and germs from your air, helping you and your baby grow in a healthier environment. In addition to household air purifiers, install a car purifier.
Protect your air – Create a healthy environment using natural household cleaners, use a hood when cooking, check mold periodically and use a carbon monoxide detector.
Buy an air cleaner – Plants can naturally filter the air and help you and your growing baby breathe fresh air.
Tips for parents with newborn babies
o Breastfeeding is recommended for all children under 6 months.
Nutrition should be considered. Healthy food, fluids, and supportive therapy will help.
o Reduce strenuous physical activity, especially outdoors, and especially if they have symptoms.
o Air purifiers should be used in special situations.
Parents should watch for the following symptoms that could be signs of serious breathing problems in children:
Cough that recurs at night / in the early morning, does not go away easily.
Cough comes on a seasonal basis with a mild to moderate runny nose.
Chest tightness caused by the leopard continuously.
Difficulty breathing especially when exertion.
Clear runny nose, recurrent sneezing, heavy snoring.
Low-grade fever with cough lasting for more than 2 weeks.
(Written by the Director, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Cloudnine Hospital Group, Noida.)
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