Last week we looked at the health risks air pollution poses to children. Children are just one group of people that suffer more from air pollution than other groups, another group of people that should be more concerned when it comes to pollution is pregnant women. Pregnancy is full of changes and every person goes through these changes differently however one thing we have in common is the desire for a healthy baby and healthy mom.
Quickly after that positive test, you start taking a prenatal vitamin, drink more water, and generally try to take care of your body better. It’s a big responsibility. Unfortunately, we can do everything ‘right’ and still have complications from outside influences. Air pollution is not just in the news, it’s all around us wreaking havoc on our bodies.
Due to pregnancy’s wonderful ability to change nearly every system in our body, these changes also make our bodies more vulnerable to outside influence. During the change process (those long 9-ish months) our bodies requirements for optimal health is likely at an all time high for most of us. So when the air we breathe is compromised, it weakens the rest of us too. The American Pregnancy Association is a great resource if you’re more curious about how a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. Just to give you a quick glance here’s a quick list:
- Endocrine system
- Cardiovascular system
- Respiratory system
- Urinary system
- Musculoskeletal system
Plus, body weight, hair, skin, nails, breasts, and abdomen are all changing too! (1) Recent reports have shown that when a pregnant woman is exposed to air pollution, especially in the first trimester, they are at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia, preterm labor, and high blood pressure. (2) These risks might seem innocuous on paper however preeclampsia when not treated carefully can lead to death for both the mother and infant. Preterm birth poses lots of health risks for the infant as well as complications for the mother, like unplanned c-section.
Despite all these health risks for pregnancy, there are ways to help. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog to learn how you can better care for your pregnancy or those around you who are higher risk. At the very least, we’re all in this world together and learning how to improve one livelihood, improves all our lives.