by Dr. Payal Chaudhary

Last few days have seen a drastic deterioration in Air Quality with Air Quality Index(AQI) going down and reaching very poor and sometimes hazardous levels.

Now this makes one think that we do know that Air Pollution is causing so many health issues especially Respiratory Issues in Children as well as Adults, then it must be having some effects on a growing foetus in the Pregnant Women’s Womb.

There have been studies which shows that exposure to environmental pollutants can lead to Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes.

It Increases the risks of spontaneous Abortions, Pre term Labour and when exposed in third trimester, might increase the risk ok Still Birth. Exposure to PM 2.5 and PM 10 as well as Carbon Monoxide and Cooking Smoke are the major Implicants of Pregnancy Loss due to Air Pollution.

Also, it is believed that the developing foetus is especially vulnerable to environmental toxins, such as Air Pollution. Studies also shows that air pollution can have a negative impact on Pregnancy outcomes such as Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight, Intrauterine Growth Restriction as well as Congenital defects on Mother’s health as well.

Miscarriage which is typically defined as the loss of the foetus before 20 Weeks of Pregnancy, and still birth, which is typically defined as the death of foetus after 20 weeks of Pregnancy, are both the example of Pregnancy Loss. The most Serious Negative Pregnancy result is Miscarriages.

Magnetic Fields, Maternal Smoking and Ambient Cigarette Smoke have all been Linked to Negative Effects of Environmental Pollution on Spontaneous Abortion and Still Birth.

The disparities reflected by the child’s health indicators persist despite the significant improvements in children’s health that have been documented globally in recent decades, It is challenging to meet the Sustainable Development Goals because of the persistently low levels of health in socially vulnerable groups of the population (expressed in high rates of neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality, malnutrition, preterm birth, and low birth weight, among other adverse outcomes) (SDG).

The COVID-19 pandemic had a further impact on the situation as a whole, strengthening and highlighting the necessity of integrating social and health policies to address the complexity of children’s health issues.

In addition to being a significant contributor to neonatal morbidity and mortality, foetal growth restriction (FGR) also has long-term negative health consequences. In affluent nations where PM2.5 levels are generally low, a number of studies over the past ten years have shown that maternal exposure to ambient air pollution is a risk factor for aberrant foetal growth.

Article By: Dr. Payal Chaudhary, Senior Consultant, Obstretics and Gynaecologist, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Malviya Nagar

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