7 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Unborn Child from Air Pollution During Pregnancy

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As winter begins its gradual approach, major cities are once again suffering from seasonal smog. Like before calls are going out for drastic measures to curb air pollution.

Pregnant Woman with Husband

A graded response to worsening air pollution in the country has already been triggered with the government announcing various measure to curb the rise of various pollutants. Various studies conducted in recent years have revealed how deadly air pollution is on a global scale. It is estimated to cause 7 million premature deaths per year; which translates to about 20 thousand deaths a day. Defending against this deadly problem, is not impossible but it requires certain measures that must to be taken. It starts with a deeper understanding of various aspects associated with this deadly killer.

Air Pollution can be of various types:

  1. Air pollution- gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide and other particulates.
  2. Water pollution – presence of harmful materials like sewage waste, waste from factories, crude oil, spilled oil from the tank, disposing of temples waste, detergents while washing clothes on riverbeds and so on. This causes water pollution.
  3. Noise pollution – loud noises from jet planes, crackers, loudspeakers, vehicles and so on. This causes noise pollution
  4. Soil pollution- fertilizers, heavy metals cause soil pollution.

Dangers of Pollution on Pregnant Females:

  • Low Birth Weight – Normally weight of full- term baby is 6-9 pounds. Baby under 5 pounds is low birth weight baby.
  • Premature Baby Birth –  This is another area of concern with over 7 million premature deaths per year.

Ways to Protect from Air Pollution:

1) Check Air Quality – Air Quality Index- check for daily air quality index through internet and newspaper. Keep a check on it. Higher the AQI value, greater the risk of pollution. Value 0-50 is considered normal and is indicated by green color and value more than 500 is hazardous. This is indicated by maroon color. You can also download air quality check app on your phones so that you can check the air quality and go outside accordingly.

Heat reduces air quality, hence, going out in afternoon is dangerous. Try going out during morning or evening after sunset.

2) Indoor Precaution – we can limit air pollution in the home by simple measures. These include-Pregnant Woman

  • Avoid candles and room fresheners.
  • Use air humidifiers inside home particularly in the area where you sit for long
  • You can also use air humidifiers inside your car
  • Wash the toys and other plastic stuff regularly to clean it with bugs and dust.
  • Keep cleaning the air filters regularly.
  • If there is fresh painting done at home pregnant women are not supposed to smell the paint fumes.
  • Pregnant women should not inhale other toxic cleaning products. For cleaning one can switch to natural products like baking soda or vinegar, salt etc. you can also make use of mask during cleaning.
  • Never use gas heaters or ovens to heat the house in winters. This is unhealthy as it releases the toxic air.
  • Never use hot blower while sleeping in a close room. This may produce carbon- mono-oxide, which can dangerous for both mother and child.
  • Regular checkup for all appliances by professionals to prevent emission of harmful gases.

3) Improve Indoor Air Quality:

Use of vacuum cleaner at home- try to use vacuum cleaners at home instead of using brooms. Vacuum cleaner should be of high suction and rotating brush. Do not forget to use vacuum cleaner on mats, carpets and corners.

  • Keep the doormats outside home so that dirt from shoes should stay outside.
  • Try to keep shoes outside house. One should keep separate pair of slippers for inside.
  • Always place an exhaust fan or chimney in kitchen.
  • Always fix leaking taps in house else, this could promote mold.

4) Perform Exercises Away from Traffic Areas – walking is a very good exercise for pregnant female. Try going outside for walks in the morning in green areas in park or lawns. Avoid busy streets. Go for deep breathing exercises.

5) Grow Indoor Plants – few plants are easy to grow with low maintenance. Try to plant them in your home. These include:

  • Aloe Vera – it has an ability to filter benzene and
  • Chrysanthemum – it helps to filter benzene.
  • Bamboo palm – one can keep them in shady areas as well and they help to filter benzene, carbon mono oxide and formaldehyde.
  • Spider plant – it helps to filter xylene and formaldehyde.
  • Tulsitulsi has many other benefits. You can make tulsi tea that can help fighting against the cold and cough.

6) Diet

  • It is advisable to take small meals after every 2-3 hours. This causes the stomach to fill appropriately and not overfilled, hence it gives space to the lungs to expand.
  • Always chew slowly and take small bites so that you can breathe properly while chewing food.
  • Always eat while sitting straight up so that there could be proper lung expansion.
  • Try to drink warm water many a times per day so that the mucous could be loosened to cough out properly.
  • Eat tulsi leaves and ginger tea or some other herbal tea to fight against the cold and cough. You can also mix ginger juice with honey and have it twice a day. Boil tulsi leaves, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, haldi and can have it. This helps in loosening the mucus and other nose irritants.
  • There are certain foods that cleanse your lungs.
Garlic
Turmeric
Ginger
Raspberries
Blackberries
Blueberries
Jaggery
Nuts

Citrus foods like oranges, gooseberries

 

All these foods help to reduce the inflammation and help to fight infections and eliminate the pollutants from the lungs and thus help to clean airways.

7) Good Hygiene Habits – viral and bacterial infection can affect the lungs health.

  • Wash hands properly, especially when coming from outside as well as before and after meals.
  • Brush teeth twice daily so that oral infections should not cause lung infections.
  • Use face masks to go outside particularly when going in the crowded places and during the noon and evening time when the air quality is poorest.

Also Read: A Lifestyle Guide For Working Expectant Mothers

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