Giving birth to life is a complex and long-term process. In order to enable children to live smoothly and healthily, mothers are more than happy to share and discuss various experiences during pregnancy, strictly follow the guidance of experts, long-term consumption of vitamins for pregnant women, healthy nutrition meals, and regular check-ups.
And another equally important element is easily overlooked by prospective mothers – air quality problems.
Taking vitamins during pregnancy, following a healthy diet, and going to a maternity hospital for regular checkups are key elements of a healthy pregnancy. Another equally important element is the air that the expectant mothers breathe. According to the 2016 Air Report of the American Lung Association, one in every two people lives in an unhealthy community. Fortunately, we can improve the indoor air quality through action.
Here's what people need to know about air pollution and pregnancy.
The impact of air pollution on pregnancy
From heart-related illnesses to respiratory illnesses and cognitive decline, poor air quality can cause a variety of health problems. Studies from the United States have shown that the effects of air pollution on the fetus cannot be ignored. Researchers conducted under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards found that air pollution levels have a negative effect on both pregnant women and fetuses. A large-scale study found that air pollution caused the death of 16,000 premature babies in the United States in just one year.
The culprit is the contamination of particulate matter in the air, where toxic solids and liquid particles float in the air we breathe. They stimulate the lungs, eyes and throat of expectant mothers, causing difficulty breathing, not to mention their connection to lung cancer. Larger particles will usually be excreted in the form of coughing, sneezing, etc., but smaller particles will stay in the lungs or dissolve in the blood.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the main contaminants that form haze in the air. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are not only associated with premature birth, low birth weight and infant mortality in extreme cases, but also with children at risk of autism and obesity.
In 2015, a study of 40 children found that the higher the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposed to maternal exposure during pregnancy, the lower the white matter content of the left hemisphere of the baby's brain. Loss of white matter in the left hemisphere of the brain is associated with slower cognitive processing and behavioral problems. When the researchers scanned their brains again when they were 5 years old, this type of contaminant had a negative impact on white matter development in the prefrontal cortex of the brain after birth. This area of the brain is related to attention, reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving skills.
Good air quality improves maternal and neonatal conditions
Evidence suggests that reducing air pollution helps protect our children's health. From 2007 to 2011, children in Southern California had stronger lung function than their children of the same age in 1993-2001, when air pollution was more serious. In the 1990s, the level of air pollution in Switzerland declined slightly. It was observed that children had less symptoms of chronic and nighttime dry cough, bronchitis, common cold and conjunctivitis during the nine years.
6 recommendations to effectively protect the respiratory health of pregnant mothers and children
1.Check local air quality conditions every day to minimize exposure to high traffic areas
2.All people are prohibited from smoking at home, ensuring good ventilation in the kitchen and reducing pollution caused by cooking
3.Keep your home perfumes and fragrances, especially air fresheners and cleansers, use natural cleansers or non-toxic, non-side-effect products
4.Ensure that gas stoves and central heating and air conditioning systems are installed and maintained in good condition.
5.It is recommended that you use a powerful air purifier for a long time to provide clean air for expectant mothers and newborns.
6.If you don't know about indoor pollution, you can also ask a technical expert to go to your home to use professional equipment for measurement.
Since 1968, the world's leading innovator of indoor air quality solutions, the Hollande Group, has brought you a fresh air quality life. This online publication aims to educate and inform the public about the latest research and news on indoor and outdoor air quality.