CHENNAI: Low oxygen levels due to pollution contribute to wombs collapsing at a larger scale and resulting in higher levels of anxiety in pregnant women. A study in the Lancet Journal further reported that nearly 3 lakh women in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are at a higher risk of miscarriages and stillbirths due to the poor quality of air. These birth defects can also result in cardiac abnormalities, spinal defects, congenital problems and sometimes even lead to gene modifications in a few cases. Today, standing for merely 10 minutes in traffic is equivalent to consuming 50 cigarettes.
It is not only the air that we breathe, the food procured from the soil is equally harmful if not consumed properly. With fruits, vegetables to rice grains laced with pesticides today; it could cause miscarriages, low birth weight, premature deliveries, birth deformities and cognitive disabilities in children. Increased exposure could generate the chemicals to enter the bloodstream and affect breast milk as well. A further surge in climate temperatures has also altered normal human body temperatures, ensuing difficulty in adapting to the weather and other surrounding atmospheric temperatures.
However, the environment cannot be solely blamed, lifestyle changes play an equally important role in the deplorable routine habits among women.
Healthy way of life has been significantly diminished among working women, prompting uneven diet and sleep patterns that eventually affect the sleep hormone. Since good diet and sleep are all the more salient among expecting mothers, a disrupted circadian rhythm can lead to cognitive and behavioural problems like lack of focus, attention, motor skills, memory, respiratory and pulmonary challenges in both the mother and child.
It is advisable for pregnant women to wake up early in the morning between 4 am- 6 am to intake fresh air while also investing their time in deep breathing techniques like pranayama. Air Purifiers or Humidifiers are a great addition. Furthermore, pregnant women are advised to avoid processed food and opt for organic products, despite it being slightly expensive.
Ananthi Ragupathy, founder -Happy Motherhood and Child Birth Educator & Psychotherapist