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5 Ways Air Pollution Impacts Pregnant Women and What You Can Do About It!

May 31, 2017

There are moments when you would like to stay indoors and never step out into the open. It’s even worse when you have to battle against traffic, scorching heat and of course, air pollution. With rapid developments throughout the major cities in India, air pollution levels have risen dramatically. It poses a health risk to people of all age groups. If you’re pregnant and to ensure the good health of your baby, it’s crucial you take extra precautions. Here are 5 ways air pollution may impact pregnant women.

1. Premature birth

Fine particulate matter is one kind of air pollution that’s specifically harmful to human health. This form of pollution comprises of tiny particles and comes from various emissions such as agricultural fires and emissions from diesel engines. The size of the tiny particles is lesser than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. These harmful particles move deep into the lungs and affect the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Pregnant women being constantly exposed to such form of air pollution may experience premature birth also known as preterm birth.

2. Low birth weight 

Ozone is a form of harmful gas that arises from car exhausts, toxic fumes from factories, and burning of gasoline. It later mixes with other forms of pollution and results in smog. Continuous exposure to smog isn’t healthy for pregnant women, and there’s a possibility the baby may have a low birth weight.

3. Physical ailments

During pregnancy, paint fumes can be hazardous to you and your baby’s health. Exposure to any form of paint whether it’s water-based or oil-based may lead to nausea, headache, dizziness or fatigue. Also, make sure that you stay away from any rooms/homes that have been recently painted.

4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

During your pregnancy period, try your best to stay away from second-hand smoke. If you’re being continuously exposed to passive smoking, you and your baby are at a serious health risk. Exposure to second-hand smoke may lead to a miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, cognitive and behavioural deficiencies, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

5. Long-term health problems

Constant exposure to air pollution may cause a condition known as intrauterine inflammation in pregnant women. This condition could affect the child’s health right from the fetal phase, into childhood and adolescence. Studies have shown that the quality of air during the pregnancy period needs to be clean or the baby may experience long-term health problems.

How can pregnant women protect themselves against air pollution?

– Do not smoke and stay away from second-hand smoke
– In the kitchen, check your stoves and ovens to make sure they function appropriately
– When using cleaning products make sure there’s good airflow 
– While travelling use a high-quality anti-pollution mask
– Install an air purifier at your home
During your pregnancy period, you need to take extra care to protect yourself and your baby. Maintain a healthy diet and follow regular sleeping hours. Try your best to stay away from air pollution both at home and outdoors. 


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