The air we breathe is polluted with a wide variety of pollutants that can have serious consequences on our health. Air pollution can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, stroke, asthma, and other illnesses in adults and children. But, have you ever wondered is an unborn child safe in its mother's womb? Stay with us to know how can air pollution create health issues in unborn children, neonates, and infants?
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How Can Air Pollution Affect a Foetus in a Mother’s Womb?
Air pollution has been shown to have a negative effect on both the unborn child and their mother. Air pollution can cause birth defects, decrease IQ levels in children, increase asthma rates, and increase the risk of death in both the mother and child. The effects of air pollution are serious, and it is important that pregnant women and their families be aware of the dangers it poses to their health.
Stillbirth refers to a baby's death in late pregnancy weeks after 20 weeks. Stillbirth can occur at any time during the pregnancy but is most common in the third trimester. A study in 2018 found that there is a correlation between stillbirth and air pollution.
Low Birth Weight
Air pollution is a major global health threat, and it's having a profound impact on birth weight in children. Several studies found that air pollutants adversely affect to baby's birth weight. Also, due to air pollution, a baby's birth weight might drop to less than 2500 grams.
So, babies born to mothers who live in areas with high levels of air pollution are more likely to be born prematurely or with low birth weight. Low birth weight can lead to health problems later in life, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. In order to reduce the number of low birth weights, it is important for pregnant women to stay informed about the dangers of air pollution and to take steps to reduce their exposure.
Lung Development Issues
Air pollution has been linked to developmental problems in the lungs of unborn babies. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy can decrease lung function in unborn children. It may develop childhood asthma and increase respiratory symptoms.
Health Concerns in Pregnant Mothers
Air pollution is a major health concern for pregnant women. Air pollution can also increase the risk of preterm labour. And if a pregnant woman has exposure to indoor air pollution may have negative pregnancy outcomes at a higher rate. Indoor pollution can be toxins from cigarette smoke.
Impacts of Air Pollution on Neonates, and Infants
It can cause respiratory problems and fatalities in infants. However, the effects of air pollution on infants vary depending on the level of exposure and the infant's age. Infants who are very young or who have pre-existing medical conditions are at greater risk for serious health problems from air pollution.
Air pollution is a major public health concern across the globe. It can increase mortality in adults, and it has been shown to increase mortality in babies too. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is responsible for approximately 600 000 deaths in children under 5 years annually. This is a major problem because the number of babies in the world is increasing, and air pollution is becoming more and more common. Not only are babies at risk, but also the elderly and people with respiratory diseases.
According to the State of Global Air, around 476,000 infants died in their first month in 2019 due to health effects caused by air pollution.
Reduced Lung Function in Children
Air pollution can have a significant impact on lung function in children. Exposure to high levels of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide can reduce lung volume and breathing ability. This has serious implications for the development of asthma and other respiratory problems in children. Reducing air pollution is important for both public health and environmental sustainability.
Ways to Protect Pregnant Mothers from Air Pollution?
Air pollution is a common problem, and it can be especially bad during the summer months. It can have a negative impact on your health, and it can also be dangerous for your baby. That's why it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your baby from air pollution. Here is what to do.
Change Your Location
If you live in an urban area, you may find that the air quality is poor. This means you need to get out of the city as soon as possible. You can try visiting a friend or family member who lives in a rural area. You can try to limit your time spent in the city, or you can try to find a place to live that is less polluted.
Masks can minimise your exposure to harmful pollutants. While staying outside home, you can wear a mask to protect yourself and your baby from air pollution. Make sure you use the right mask for your needs.
Avoid Highly Polluted Places
It is not always possible to avoid air pollution completely, but you can try to avoid the worst of it. Try to avoid some special locations of your city where the pollution is high. And wear a face mask wherever you go.
Don’t Breathe in Fumes
When you are pregnant, you should avoid breathing in fumes as much as possible. It can cause your baby to develop respiratory problems.
Check Air-Quality Air Around
The air quality doesn't remain the same all time. Depending on various factors, the air quality may increase or decrease. So, when you want to go out, make sure to check the air quality in your area.
So far, we have discussed the effects of Air pollution on harmful effects on both the unborn children, neoates, and infants. The unborn child is extremely vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution. This is because air pollution can cause birth defects, low birth weight, and even death in the unborn child. The neonates and infants are also being affected from pollution. These effects may include respiratory problems, developmental delays, and even death. To mimimise these impacts exposure to air pollution during pregnancy should be avoided. The neonates, infants and young children should be kept indoors as much as possible to reduce their exposure to air pollution.