Silent Deaths. How Air pollution and warming climates are killing unborn children.

Published by Ocean Generation \ October 25, 2019 10:50 am

Air pollution in certain cities of the world is so thick that residents can barely see their fingers in-front of them. Surrounding them at all times, this pool of toxic breathing air is having severe affects on human health. Only recently have the true horrors been uncovered through in-depth research and analysis. But more often than not, pregnant women can be overlooked as a shocking epidemic of “silent miscarriages” sweeps the most polluted of cities. For example researchers from five Chinese universities reported in Nature Sustainability that pregnant women exposed to Beijing’s suffocating smog have an increased risk of a first-trimester “silent miscarriage” —a fetal death that goes unnoticed. 

Concerned citizens are often having to trust in private innovation and tools to navigate city life through extreme air polluted areas and days after governments, particularly in India and china fail to safeguard their people. A rise in apps, functioning of data from its users are rolling out to better inform worried people when it’s safe to venture outside. The severity of the air pollution crisis is still not totally understood and research only suggests it’s getting worse. 

But it’s not just air pollution harming unborn children and their mothers, across the world climate change is taking its toll on unnamed innocent victims. Each year we are seeing more days of extreme heat that is putting pregnant women at risk according to a new Stanford led research. The maternal mortality rate among all women in the United States is already the worst of any industrialised nation.

This is a topic that requires a lot more scientific research to protect future generations, but what is known as of now is pregnant women are unable to regulate body temperature like an un-pregnant person due to hormonal changes in their body. Heat exposure can alter blood flow to the placenta which can not only weaken it but cause a whole series of issues. From general pregnancy complications such as hypertension and preeclampsia to the prolonged premature rupture of membranes. 

Scientists predict global average temperatures will continue to rise over the next 50 to 100 years as greenhouse gases continue to trap more heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year warned that nations worldwide must quickly reduce fossil fuel use to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5°C by 2050. The panel also said the number of days with mean temperatures above 32°C in the average American county is forecasted to increase from about 1 to 43 days per year by 2070–2099. That could have detrimental consequences for babies and mothers alike.

If you are pregnant and concerned about the health of your unborn child seek medical advice form your general practitioner. If you are living in a highly air polluted city, use government websites and privately owned data apps such as AirVisual Air Quality Forecast.

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