5 Ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy

In the year of 2019 , about 5,00,000 new babies were died only because of air pollution . Can you believe it ?

5,00,000 newborn. Its definitely not a small number . But have you ever wonder how air pollution that usually neglect actually affects pregnancy. Any guesses about that. Well sorry to say but guesses won’t work here. You have to get the real , actual data about the ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy to help the future generation to be healthy or may be to save your or others infants.

So let’s just dive into the article to find the 5 ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy, newborns and fetus. 

How air pollution affects pregnancy ?

No one wants to breath polluted air but we are now forced to do so. To calm you down i must say that air pollution is really on fire. I mean yes, that’s true. The governments and we are just wasting decades by planning the ways to control it but not properly implementing them.

Though some nations has succeeded to control carbon dioxide emissions but other are just increasing it. Thus causing adverse effects to infant and pregnant women by air pollution. You must be like “O! Just come to the point and show the 5 ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy.” Am I right ?

Well just get to the point number 1.

#1: Low Birth weight

Low birth weight can really be agonizing to mother who go through 9 months of though times just to hold their baby. Whether you are a mother or not you must agree with me. 

But what factors the air pollution has that cause low birth weight in newborn. Let’s discuss about that vividly.

But before that permit me to show you what is low birth weight(LBW) in children.  

5 ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy, low birth weight
credit : Google images

What is consider LBW ?

Low birth weight is consider when a baby is born weighing less than 2500 GM or 5 pounds or 8 ounces. As referred to that a baby born weighing less that 1500 gram is considered as very low birth weight (VLBW) and baby born with lesser than 1000 gram weight is considered as extremely Low birth weight.

How air pollution causes LBW in babies ?

 As you know sulfur dioxide is a deadly factor and ingredient of air pollution. But did you know that 80 % of it is produced only by human beings. This happens because of the combustion of fossil fuel such as coal petroleum and natural gas. 

This particular gas has a high impact on both pregnant woman and fetuses. According to studies, the consistence exposure of pregnant woman to sulfur dioxide make us fetal difficulties including low Birth Weight.

Another factor that causes LBW in fetus is particulate matters. Evidence shows , consumption of air which contain particulate matters less than 2.5 microns have severe associations with pre-term labor and low birth weight. In addition to that chronic disorders and adverse health outcomes of the child are also associates with this factors of air pollution.

Another study has also reported that maternal exposure to Sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide during second trimester or trimester may bring several issues including low birth rates of newborn.

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, the components of polluted air play major roles in fetal complications. Exposure to these to gases during 3rd to 5th month of gestation increases the risk of low birth rate.

This exposure may also be blamed for the reduction in the age of pregnancy and birth of a pre mature baby. So this is how air pollution affects pregnancy and this is how low birth weight becomes the #1 way of how air pollution affects pregnancy.

But wait how could i forget to discuss the effects of low birth rate of the baby.

It is necessary to you to know about it.

What are the risks of Low Birth Rate:

Low birth means multiple defects on the health of the new born. I have studied many qualified results and came these outcomes of the LBW.

Infants born with a low birth weight have the chances to face the following health issues at the early age of life or may be throughout the life which are shortly discussed below 

  1. A very low oxygen levels at birth 
  2. Trouble with staying warm because of the insufficient amount of lipid in body 
  3. Slow development on both internal and external appearance
  4. Catch infection quickly
  5. Face trouble in feeding and gaining weight
  6. Weaken nervous system and nervous system problems  (blood clod in brain due to bleeding and damage to the brains white matters)
  7. Problem in respiration due to immature and respiratory system 
  8. Hazardous digestive problems including Necrotizing enter colitis + sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

If the baby survives by any chance then he or she may face long term complication including :

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Developmental delay

This is why normal body weight is so essential to child and this how air pollution ruining this important factor of pregnancy. Let’s move to the point number 2, which elaborates about how preterm births becomes #2 way of how air pollution affects pregnancy.

#2: Preterm Birth 

A preterm birth is always considered as a nightmare in pregnancy. But did you know what regular exposures to polluted atmosphere can make it real!

Yes, air pollution causes preterm birth in pregnant woman. But have you any guesses about what preterm of birth really is ?

What is a preterm birth ?

If a birth occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, then it is called as preterm birth. A normal pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks but there are multiple causes who can cause a preterm labor.

Guess what again!

Air pollution holds its place in one of them. 

Let’s discuss about how consumption of bad air may cause a preterm labor during pregnancy.

How air pollution causes preterm birth ?

Through the above discussions you must have concluded one thing that is air pollution is a true devil. Am not i right ?

But when it comes to preterm birth, the results are more critical. But how air pollution causes preterm birth .Let me focus light on that.

When a pregnant woman exposed to contaminated air she is forced to inhale the toxicity around her. This increases the toxicity and chemical in the blood stream.

Breathing this nasty air may put stress on mothers immune system which further weaken the placenta surroundings and obviously the fetus.

According to the respected researchers this process may cause preterm birth in pregnant woman.

You know according to United nations, annual data shows that each year approximately 140 million babies are born in world wide. And almost 15 million babies are born due to preterm labor. This estimates 1 in 10 babies. Due to preterm labor 1 million babies suffer through the hard conditions and furtherly die. 

How air pollution cause premature deaths ?

A preterm labor means a high percentage to a premature baby. Pre maturity leads to many health issues. These types of babies have a shorter life span in comparison to normal babies as they have following issues.

Short term complications with premature baby.

1. May go through the breathing problem due to pre mature respiratory system

2. Heart problems including patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and very low blood pressure or hypotension  

3.Tempretature problem due to lack of lipid in the body

4.Brain problems and immune system problems

5.Gastro intenstinal problems

6.Blood problems such as :

Anemia 

Newborn Jaundice

Metabolism problems

It is medically observed that if the baby any how survives from these health complications, he or she may face long term health hazard such as 

1. Cerebral Palsy 

2. Impaired leaning

3.Vision problems or blindness

4. Hearing issues

5.Behavioral problems

6.Physchological problems

7.Dental issues + chronic issues

A systematic review conducted in 2020, made a serious statement after looked at about 32 million births in the United States. They concluded that who are breathing PM 2.5 or ozone during maternal period are associated with a higher risk of preterm labor.

Along with that , slightly more than 3% of all premature births in USA are directly attributed to air pollution. This accounts nearly 16,ooo babies are born in pre term labor for air pollution.

Not only in USA but each corner of the earth is now is facing the problems with air pollution and preterm labor. Of course, this the effects of both ambient outdoor and indoor air pollution accounts for total 7 million deaths in worldwide.

So this is how preterm labor becomes the #2 number ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy.

#3:Risk of Miscarriage  

There is a significant associations between miscarriage and air pollution. From the above discussion i have so new the link of preterm births and low birth weights with air pollution which occurs after births.

But now i am going to show the analysis of how the most underestimated air pollution increases the risks of miscarriage in pregnancy time. But first of all you need to know what miscarriage actually is. 

Read carefully !

What miscarriage means ?

A miscarriage is called as the spontaneous loss of the fetus or simply the loss of baby before the 20th week of pregnancy. The term miscarriage can also be delivered as the death of the fetus by naturally occurring event without the interruption of medical or surgical abortions.

The reviewed medical studies have stated that, the miscarriages can be so problematic because many women go through this infortune during the very early stage of pregnancy without knowing that they are pregnant.

But here comes a massive doubt ! how can miscarriage be associated with air pollution and why have i included this in this article ?

A team of researches from reputed universities studied over 255668 expecting women in Beijing from 2009-2017.The whole study was based upon air pollution and miscarriage. The results were breathe taking and are worth to be discussed.

They found that, the woman who were exposed to air pollution such as atmosphere at traffic, polluted air from industries and other sources of air pollution were at high risk of missed abortion in the first trimester (MAFT) or missed miscarriage.

Outdoor air pollution containing Sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter 2.5, tiny particles of radon or even very tiny solid particles increases the chances of miscarriage.

This happens because these harmful air pollutants penetrate to the placenta which the maternal fetal blood barrier. They affect the gestational activities such as affect the growth and development of the fetus, decrease the flow of nutrition’s and oxygen from mother to baby. This lack of essential compounds in fetus further result in death of the growing baby.

These types of unusual activities during parental periods adversely affect the baby and cause miscarriage.

More published information show that MAFT occurs when the fetus stops growing or has died. This factor is much concerning compared to the other health hazards during pregnancy because no physical symptoms such as no bleeding or pain in the epidermal body appear.

Woman older than 39 years are at higher risk of MAFT or miscarriage when exposed to air pollution comparing to the younger ones. MAFT and miscarriages occur in up to 15 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies, mostly to the people living in developing countries and are facing air pollution.

This is why it suggested by scientist to control the exposures to air pollution during pregnancy to avoid miscarriages.

Well, this is how miscarriages took the position of #3 in the list of ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy.

Let’s move on to next point.

#4: Long term illnesses of the baby

What you do today will be shown tomorrow. This is why what you in heal now will definitely become the future of your baby.

There is a serious relationship between air pollution and long term illnesses of the baby no matter if he or she go through preterm labor and LBW or not. Dangerous health issues are already delivered to the baby if a pregnant woman spent hours in smoke, fumes, asbestos or simply in a polluted environment.

The chances of long term health issues such as respiratory disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis of the infant rises if the mother is exposed to air pollution in a daily basis.

Other life threatening carcinogenic disease such as cancer can also appear at early stage of child hood if the mother breathes contaminated air during her pregnancy. Chronic disease such as cardio vascular disease may appear later in life. Harmful factors like polluted gas, the tiny particles of particulate matter and PM 2.5 are link to long cancer in new born.

Even though it is clarified that these diseases are surely linked to air pollution but it is still unknown that why and how rapidly these pollutants change the DNA cells and cause cancer in infants. 

Even though it is unknown but i would like to serve some studies of why these factors change the DNA cells and cause cancer and other long term illnesses in newborns.

Simply long term health issues require many months or years to form completely. But these types of health issues in newborns appear so frequently in with a short period of time which is seems quite impossible. At least disease like cancer takes ten years to incubate completely!

You must have seen, newborns breath the air quickly than adults. This is because they lead to consume more oxygen in order to maintain body temperature and also because their lungs are still under construction.

This is why they consume more polluted air unknowingly in comparison to adults. Apart from that mothers who live in a polluted environment transfer many harmful molecular pollutants before their birth. So, in this ways the long term illnesses appear so quickly in newborns.

According to EPA, those newborns who grow in a polluted environment such as living in a town or city with low quality of air, whose parents or family members are into smoking or tobacco consumption are increased risk of having reduced lung capacity.

5 ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy | eduavow, smoking weed
credit : pixabay, eduavow

In USA more than 3300 teen age individual or children of Southern California have reduced potential of lung function who spent more time outdoors air pollution with high level of ozone. Analyzed studies also reports that infections like pneumonia, worsen level of asthma can also be associated with air pollution in infants. 

For more worst condition it can further cause tuberculosis as a long term health issue and affect the outcome of the pregnancy. 

According to the Indian express air pollution can make a severe impact on your child brain structure causing lower concentration and reduce learning capabilities. This occurs due to the ambient exposures to polycyclic aromatic particles in air pollution. 

It also affects the overall functions in postneonatal mortality. 

This is how long term illnesses of the baby become #4 way of how air pollution affects pregnancy .

#5: Infertility 

Fertilization is the first step towards pregnancy. But what if, air pollution affects the pregnancy by causing infertility ?

The infertility rate is becoming casual in modern population because of increase in air pollution which is highly concerning. There are many factors cause infertility. These factors can be biologic, ecologic, genetic factors, increased noise levels, disturbances or may be social.

But air pollution is doing it too sharply. 

Doctors recommend to maintain healthy lifestyle, eat nutritional foods, do exercise and most importantly breath non contaminated air for a good reproductive health. But in modern lifestyle we are surely lacking these things out. We are repeatedly inhaling polluted air and affecting our own reproductive health.

A team of epidemiology came to know that, nitrogen dioxide a compound of air pollution has a significant effect on the female reproductive system. The regular and unprotected exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to the eggs by reduction in overall numbers and potentially low quality eggs. 

This is how it affects the female reproductive health and makes modern to get pregnant.

But, what about males ? 

Doesn’t it make any impact on sperms ? Well, it does in a serious amount !! 

Epidemiologic studies also reported that , extended exposures to certain chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, material used in paint contribute to low sperm count. And you know that low sperm level means decrease chances to fertilize with the egg cell.

This specific pregnancy problem is increasing each year. Health agency reports show that about 1 in 8 couples facing infertility problem in USA. This accounts about 6.7 million public each year who have trouble conceiving.

AOR indicates that radon a pollutant in air pollution increases the male infertility. This causes low concentration of sperm cell in male reproductive system.

So, only taking more dose of medicine to improve your reproductive health not gonna completely help you out !

This is how air pollution affects pregnancy. By causing infertility in both man and woman.

FAQ : ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy

There are thousands of questions on google about how air pollution affects pregnancy. Peoples from different nation are questioning because some how they are getting affected by it. People like you want answers and this why i am writing this article.

These are the answers of most searched questions on google how air pollution affects pregnancy . I hope you finds yours.

Q1. How does air pollution affects unborn babies ?

Answer-Unborn babies usually contain under developed respiratory organs. Adverse health conditions such as lower birth weight , unexpectedly small baby, under developed organs, preterm labor, still birth and miscarriage can occur for air pollution. Apart from that problematic health disorders such as respiratory infections, diarrheal disease, brain damage, inflammation, blood disorders and long term health issues may appear. 

This is how air pollution affects unborn babies.

Q2.Is smoky air bad for pregnant woman ?

Ans- Polluted smoky air is definitely bad for pregnancy. Laterally air smoked contain deadly gases such as carbon oxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter. For more, smoky air and polluted air contain deadly gases metals, fumes, ashes which have effects on pregnancy. So for sure smoky air is bad for pregnancy.

Q3. Air pollution and birth outcomes ?

Ans- Air pollution can completely alter the expectation of birth outcomes. If a woman is regularly Exposed to air pollution during pregnancy she may face consequences such as low birth weight of baby, preterm labor, miscarriage or still birth.

Health issues including under developed organs repeated respiratory infections, cardio vascular disease, heart problems and more may appear on baby’s health.

So, in my opinion these are the top 5 ways of how air pollution affects pregnancy. If you are pregnant and living in a polluted environment you must take advice from your health care provider to not to face any of these consequences. Do yoga and meditation and breathing exercises which will help you to improve your health quality during pregnancy. Try to avoid air pollution by keeping an air filter in your room during pregnancy.   

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