How smog affects pregnancy?

Here is how smog affects the mother and her unborn child.

Pregnancy is a very critical phase of a woman s life. Not only does she have to care for herself but also for her baby. However, there are few things that an expectant mother can do to protect her and her baby like following the right diet, exercising, etc. But there are other factors that influence her pregnancy which is out of her control of environmental factors or air pollution. Did you know air pollution during pregnancy can retard baby s growth?

Air pollution these days is what makes an expectant mother concerned about both her own health and that of her baby. We know that inhaling smog has a hazardous effect on the body even for the healthiest among us. So, during pregnancy when the immunity hits an all-time low, smog is not going to favour a pregnant woman in any way. We tried to explore to know how smog effect on pregnancy. Here are eight other things in the environment that can harm your unborn child.

How it affects the mother

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During pregnancy a mother s immunity is low and so it is necessary that she takes certain precautions to keep herself safe. Too much exposure to smog can make her fatigued and restless and the pollutants in the air will make it difficult for her lungs to work to their full capacity. Smog can cause irritation of the air passage and lead to chest tightness, wheeze and other such problem. If she is already an asthmatic it can aggravate the symptoms. This could mean more period of rest and if it turns worse medications to treat her condition, says Dr Arvind Kate, chest physician, Zen Hospital, Mumbai. Here is how asthma can affect your pregnancy.

How it affects the baby

There are studies that have indicated that prenatal exposure to smog can have an adverse respiratory effect in the babies. It can impair organogenesis and organ development, which can lead to long-term complications in the baby. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy affects respiratory health in different ways. Lung development might be impaired by air pollution indirectly by causing lower birth weight, premature birth or disturbed development of the immune system. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy has also been linked to decreased lung function in infancy and childhood, increased respiratory symptoms, and the development of childhood asthma.

In addition, impaired lung development contributes to infant mortality. The mechanisms of how prenatal air pollution affects the lungs are not fully understood but studies are suggestive enough to point out that smog does affect the unborn child in the womb [1].


[1] Korten, I., Ramsey, K., & Latzin, P. (2017). Air pollution during pregnancy and lung development in the child. Paediatric respiratory reviews, 21, 38-46.

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