Nothing else can produce the joy and love, an incomparable feeling, that Motherhood allows. Being a mother is the most beautiful and divine emotion in the world. It is something that must be felt and can never be described in the words. When a baby comes into a women’s life starting from day 1 when she conceives, she tries to keep baby happiness and wellbeing ahead of her own. Being a mom, I understand that for our babies we do everything to keep them healthy and safe.
The purpose of writing this article is to provide information how little negligence can affect a developing foetus. As we all know pollution affects are indeed many and wide ranging. There is no doubt that excessive level of pollution is causing a lot of damage to human, animal health and environment. Many of us already would be aware of fact that air pollution exposure to expectant mothers can affect growing baby’s lungs and respiratory system but our concern doesn’t stop here.
The evidence that air pollutants can alter chromosomes in womb is troublesome since other studies have validated this type of genetic alteration. Exposure to high level of pollution, particularly Urban Air Pollution, in womb may lead to a type of DNA damage associated with ageing called telomere shortening.
What are Telomeres? Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes like the plastic tip at the end of shoelaces. Without telomeres DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t perform their functions. Telomere length represents our biological age. Scientific studies have confirmed the strong connection between short telomeres and cellular aging.
Effects of telomere shortening? Causes age related breakdown of cells and linked with cancer, heart disease and premature death and contribute to behavioural and cognitive problems later in childhood. “An individual’s telomere length at birth is known to influence their risk for disease decades later during adulthood,” says Deliang Tang, Professor at the Columbia University in the USA.
Ways to minimise the risk of exposure:
• To be moms can’t easily change the place where they live or work but can avoid directly inhaling exhaust Polycyclic aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from vehicle exhaust on busy streets, power plant emissions or smoke from fireworks.
• Pay attention to the outdoor air quality warnings, particularly Urban Air Pollution. If there is a warning in your area stay indoors.
• Air quality is worse in the afternoon, especially Urban Air Pollution. Refrain from any physical activity at that time or plan for alternate times.
• Plant indoor air purifying plants like snake plant, areca palm, sansevieria.
• Avoid areas of burning fuels.
• Use mask wherever possible.
• Talk to your doctor if you live in high risk area, where Urban Air Pollution is high.
Even the reduction of exposure from moderately high to moderate level would have a positive effect on a developing foetus. There is a need for policymakers at central, state, local level to take appropriate steps to protect our children from these avoidable exposures.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ― Gautama Buddha