How Air Pollution Affects Pregnant Women And Their Foetus

Content Team

Is there anywhere in Nigeria that there is no form of air pollution? 

At least in most major cities where vehicular movement is prevalent it is normal to view smoke coming out from the exhaust of vehicles much to the dismay of passengers and passersby who unwillingly inhale this dangerous emissions. Nigerians don't only experience air pollution from vehicles but from cigarettes and marijuana smoking, burning of refuse done indiscriminately along the streets and roads.

It is a known fact that emissions from the exhaust pipe of vehicles contain carbon monoxide, which is dangerous.  A new study reveals that breathing in the polluted air during pregnancy may affect a child’s long-term heart health. This research points to the impact of air pollution on pregnant women and the unborn foetus.

About 1,300 mothers and their babies from the Boston were examined and the children’s’ blood pressure were measured from the age of three to nine. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that air pollution exposure during the third trimester was associated with higher blood pressure in children. Such babies were 61 percent more likely to have elevated blood pressure.

Dr. Noel Mueller stated children with high blood pressure in childhood were more likely to have hypertension and cardiovascular diseases later in life.  Also, air pollution is closely linked to preterm birth and autism.

The American Pregnancy Association pointed out the glaring effect of long-term exposure to air pollution. Some of which are coughing, eye and sinus irritation, advanced respiratory diseases like bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema, chronic fatigue, decreased lung capacity and shortness of breath, damage to lungs and heart, cancer etc.

It is challenging to avoid air pollution totally as it is beyond a pregnant woman’s ability. Yet, exposure to air pollution can be reduced to the barest minimum by observing the following guidelines.

  • Pregnant women who stay in these areas do not have to move out of the place they stay rather caution should be taken such as exercising indoors in highly polluted areas.
  • Avoid exposure to paint fumes and cleaning products. Pregnancy is not a time to be involved in painting, spraying insecticide or using harsh cleaning products
  • Use an indoor air purifier. Purifiers help to remove pollution from the air you breathe indoors.
  • Change air filters of your air conditioners in the car and at home
  • Keep your home mold and dust free
  • Have air-purifying plants indoors. Plants help to filter your air and help you and your growing baby breathe healthier air
  • Stay inside
  • Keep your stress levels low