How Environments Can Affect Pregnancies

How Environments Can Affect Pregnancies
Elizabeth Armstrong

Elizabeth Armstrong

Can you image the difference in how you’d feel if you were sitting by an open window during rush-hour traffic surrounded by buildings and concrete in the heat of the day? Or sitting on a bench by a clear lake graced with the sounds of birds and a gentle breeze moving through the forest? It is important to listen to your subtle, negative feelings of stress and nausea that may be related to the conditions found in your ecosystem. Air, water, and soil quality and building conditions found in urban environments impact a mother’s health and her birth outcomes.

The negative forces linked with poor environmental quality reach deep within the body to influence miscarriages, preterm birth, low birth-weight, and ill health found in both mother and child. Beware of conditions that include high concentrations of people, vehicles, and buildings that absorb and release heat, gases, and pollutants. Poor birth outcomes are one of the leading causes in childhood death and are linked to adult illnesses, according to the EPA.

The air in and around urban ecosystems is filled with chemicals and particles. Carbon, ozone, and nitrogen are examples of toxic pollutants. Small particles come from urban traffic, construction, and exposed soil. The mother and child may experience negative birth impacts from natural disasters; such as flooding events, hurricanes and thunderstorms, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2012.

Pesticides and other organic chemicals used to exterminate plants and insects when released onto the landscape or fed to livestock impacts ill health. The compounds enter the food chain when animals feed on contaminated plants, insects, and animals. The chemicals that accumulate within animals as toxins pass through the food chain, such as a cow devouring treated grasses. Humans consume toxic chemicals from the food they eat. Your baby is at risk to the toxins as the chemicals have been found to pass through the placental membrane, according to a study published in Environmental Research in 2009.

A mother that is exposed to unstable living conditions may become stressed or is unable to create a healthy lifestyle pattern. Conditions found in and around homes and property; vacancy rates and ownership status; and criminal activities and troubling situations have a direct relationship on preterm birth and low birth weight.

Smoking, alcohol consumption and drugs offer the opportunity to experience a miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight. You may prevent impacts on your unborn child by being involved in quality behavior choices and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. You do have the freedom to make quality choices with knowledge about the conditions found in your neighborhood.

There is hope. Healthy food choices while pregnant will provide you with a sense of comfort that you are doing a great job while carrying your unborn child. Work with professionals to determine an acceptable amount of weight gain while pregnant. A complex cause-and-effect relationship between weight gain during pregnancy coupled with exposure to environmental pollutants has been found to impact the growth of the unborn child as the survival of your infant may be directly related to your diet.

Adding a richness of green-space buffers the waste streams found in asphalt and concrete cities. Green lifeforms absorb toxins from the air, water and soil while releasing precious oxygen to enhance well-being. The green eye-candy has been found to improve one’s attitude while bathed in nature. If you must remain in an urban environment then use plants to improve the conditions for you and your child. When a mother’s home is surrounded by the presence of green living super-forces, then there is a greater chance of giving birth to a newborn baby with a higher birth weight. The outcome may be connected to improved air quality, increased level of physical activity exercise, or both.

When you live near green spaces then you tend to exercise more often, experience less stress, and are involved in more social activity. The rate of smoking among pregnant women is reduced in relation to increased physical activity. Physical activity coupled with good nutrition has many benefits for birth outcomes and may reduce childhood obesity.

Knowledge offers you the power to make wise lifestyle choices. You may find more information at United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2013, Eco-Health Relationship Browser,

Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD is an environmental expert, author, business owner. Blog: Website:

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