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Wednesday, April 24 2024
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Air Pollution’s Impact on Women’s Reproductive Health Revealed

Pollution (1)
Photo Credit : IANS

New Delhi: Even though Delhi’s air quality is still classified as “severe,” doctors warned that breathing in dirty air can have a serious negative impact on reproductive health.

The Delhi region’s air quality on Thursday morning was still classified as “severe.”

As to the CPCB report at 9 a.m., the Anand Vihar station had PM 2.5 at 500 and PM 10 at 459, placing it in the’severe’ category. The levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and NO2 were both in’satisfactory’ ranges at 85 and 57.
“Amid NCR’s prolonged air pollution crisis, expecting mothers find themselves at the forefront of its adverse effects. The delicate particulate matter in the air has potential repercussions on foetal development, contributing to issues like low birth weight and preterm birth,” Dr Shweta Wazir, Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Gurugram, told IANS.

In addition, Wazir said that the constant exposure to pollution heightens stress and anxiety levels, impacting the mental well-being of pregnant women.

“As their immune systems become compromised, the risk of infections during pregnancy rises,” she stated.

Anogenital distance is a gauge of a fetus’s exposure to hormones. A study released on Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives revealed that some contaminants can have a deleterious effect on it.

According to US researchers at Rutgers University, air pollution may disrupt the regular activity of hormones throughout crucial stages of pregnancy and the early infancy.

According to them, there might be long-term effects on reproductive health from this disruption. One of the main threats to public health is air pollution.
Significant respiratory hazards are posed by the bad air quality, which also raises the possibility of problems like asthma and bronchitis.

Nonetheless, women who are expecting or pregnant are especially susceptible to its negative consequences. The reason for this is that “women who are expecting or pregnant breathe for two.”

Air pollutants can pass through the placenta, the organ that joins the mother to the fetus. Furthermore, the fetus is particularly susceptible to the impacts of environmental pollutants due to its rapid development. Preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital heart defects, asthma, and autism spectrum disorder are just a few of the negative health outcomes that have been linked to exposure to air pollution during pregnancy, according to Dr. Priyanka Suhag, Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the CK Birla Hospital (R), Delhi.

Nisha Bhatnagar, MBBS. MD (ObGyn), Medical Director, Infinite Fertility added that daily exposure to high pollution levels is increasingly recognised as a significant contributor to declining fertility.

Besides women’s reproductive health, prolonged exposure to bad air also affects men’s sperm quality.

“Deteriorating air quality not only affects respiratory health but also leads to reduced sexual drive among couples trying to conceive. Exposure to air with estrogenic and antiandrogenic substances can impair testosterone and sperm production,” the doctor told IANS.

Air pollution can be a silent adversary to fertility, affecting both men and women. The toxins in polluted air may disrupt hormonal balance and impair reproductive health. The experts suggested limiting outdoor activities during times when air pollution levels are highest, focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management to support overall health, and engage in activities like prenatal yoga and meditation for stress relief.

“To protect your fertility, consider wearing masks in highly polluted areas. Prioritising a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and regular exercise, can also mitigate the impact of air pollution. Awareness, precaution, and timely interventions are our allies in the fight for reproductive well-being,” Dr. Lavi Sodhi, Consultant, MBBS, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Birla Fertility & IVF, Lajpat Nagar

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