Listen to this article
Unborn babies get all their oxygen and nutrition from the mother. All that the mother eats, feels, inhales, or comes in contact with, can affect the unborn baby. In such circumstances, we can only imagine the harmful effects of pollution, whether air, water, or noise, on the fetus. However, with the correct advice and necessary precautions, these effects can be decreased to the least minimum.
The fetus receives oxygen via the placenta from the mother. Hence, exposure to air pollution, can lead to serious adverse effects like higher infant mortality, lower birth weight, impaired lung development, increased later respiratory morbidity, and early alterations in immune development. It is also linked to longer-term breathing issues, such as asthma and allergies.
Also, there is evidence of the adverse impact of prenatal exposure to air pollution on maternal health as well. In the first trimester, if there is an exposure to pollution, there is an increased risk of preeclampsia and high blood pressure in mothers. These complications can harm the mother and the unborn baby adversely and can necessitate an early premature delivery.
People might not be able to control the levels of pollution around their home or workplace. However, simple strategies to protect — such as remaining indoors as much as possible, wearing a covering on the face when outdoors, and using quality air filters — may reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on pregnancy.
Noise pollution (including occupational and ambient noise) can affect both the maternal and the fetal/neonatal outcomes. Exposure to noise may result in the rise in stress and sleep disturbance. Stress has been hypothesized to affect fetal growth through the endocrine system by causing hormonal imbalance. Sleep disturbance, on the other hand, is known to be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
While it can be hard to avoid noise at work, one should try to move as far away from the noise as possible or ask your employer if you can work in a quieter job during pregnancy. Also, talk to your doctor about potential hazards at work. Make sure to specify that you are exposed to loud noise.
In terms of community health practices, the effects of ambient air pollution and noise on reproductive outcomes may be small, when compared to individual pregnancies. However, due to the widespread nature of the exposure, there are possible long-term health effects, like low birth weight or preterm birth.