Can air pollution affect your pregnancy? Here’s how to reduce the risks

On National Pollution Control Day 2021, come let us find out how air pollution can affect your pregnancy and everything you need to do to reduce its risks.
Dr Aruna Kalra Updated: 2 Dec 2021, 13:08 pm IST
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Due to the extreme rise in pollution levels, the air we breathe in can trouble us majorly and can put our chances of expanding our family at great risk. Many studies have found that air pollution can be one of the contributors of lower fertility rates in women and men. Some other researches also ascertain that air pollution may also be one of the primary reasons for miscarriages. This is because inhaling polluted air is known to be as dangerous as smoking during pregnancy.

Here are some ways in which it can affect your pregnancy:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome

Air pollution creates great risk for infants. At times, you and your baby’s life can be put in immense danger if you are regularly exposed to passive smoke. Bad air quality also contributes to sudden infant death syndrome in babies.

  • Underweight delivery

During normal pregnancies, delivery takes place in 38 to 40 weeks with the baby’s weight being about six to nine-pounds. If in a pregnancy, the baby’s weight is less than five pounds and eight ounces, the baby is considered to be weak and underweight. An underweight delivery can take place due to a number of reasons. However, exposure to poor air quality while being pregnant is considered to be a major reason.

  • Development of autism

Pregnant women, when exposed to excessive air pollution during their pregnancy period, have a greater risk of developing autism in their babies, as compared to women who breathe cleaner air. Some researchers say that air pollution contains a huge number of contaminants, which can interrupt the baby’s brain development.

  • Premature delivery

Air pollution is a big reason behind premature deliveries. Babies born before time often have a risk of developing permanent physical disabilities and neurological disorders. Though preterm birth can happen to any woman due to many reasons, we should try avoiding air pollution.

Everything that an expecting mother consumes, drinks and inhales goes directly to her foetus. It is very important to keep a check on the air quality before heading out of the house. It may help to limit or avoid the time when the pollution is at its peak. Usually in the morning, ozone levels tend to be lower. If air pollution is terrible, it is always safe to be indoors.

Air pollution exposure could lead to premature delivery. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some tips to reduce the risks of air pollution:

  • Indoor plants

Many indoor plants provide oxygen and have the ability to filter the indoor air. They help you and your baby in inhaling fresh air by removing hazardous compounds from the atmosphere and substituting carbon dioxide with oxygen.

  • Using an air purifier

Air purifiers work as a one-stop solution to prevent indoor air pollution. These purifiers remove every dirty thing, from smoke to dust and germs from the indoor air. This helps you and your baby grow in a healthy environment. Being indoors and inhaling better air quality from the very beginning can provide long-lasting benefits to you and your baby.

air pollution
Add indoor plants to your surroundings. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Use of natural products

There are many household cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals. Hence, in order to create a healthy environment, you can use natural household cleaners like vinegar to clean surfaces, an electric chimney while cooking, and a carbon monoxide detector. You can also avoid being in or going into a freshly painted room or a room that has people who are smoking. This is because passive smoking is equally dangerous.

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About the Author

Dr Aruna Kalra is a renowned obstetrician, gynaecologist, and laparoscopic surgeon at CK Birla Hospital. She has an experience of more than 23 years. She is an expert in scarless laparoscopic surgeries. Her areas of interest include minimally invasive gynaecological surgeries, gynae oncological surgeries, high-risk pregnancies, and vaginal birth after cesarean. ...Read More

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