Higher air pollution in winter, COVID-19 are potential risk factors for preterm birth

Studies do not suggest an increased risk of congenital anomalies, early pregnancy loss or miscarriage in pregnant women due to COVID-19, however, new coronavirus infection is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth.

Representative image. Cassidy Rowell / Unsplash

Premature birth is one of the main concerns regarding pregnancy. Many factors can cause premature births, including COVID-19 and air pollution. Pregnant women should adopt the necessary safety measures and receive sufficient support to protect themselves and their fetuses during pregnancy. Proactive medical management is essential for their well-being.

Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks. If the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered premature or premature. Preterm infants are further categorized according to gestational age when they are born. If a baby is born within 32 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is late or moderately premature. Babies born within 28 to 32 weeks are very premature, and those born before the 28th week of pregnancy are considered extremely premature.

Fortunately, given all the advances made in the medical industry, about 90 percent of preterm infants eventually survive, and most even have normal development later.

There are various reasons why premature births occur, most of which occur spontaneously. In many such cases, the exact cause remains unidentified. Some preterm births occur when labor is accelerated by cesarean section or induction of labor for medical reasons. Some of the common medical reasons for premature birth include infections, twin or multiple pregnancies, fetal growth restrictions, hypertensive pregnancy disorders, and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Premature birth carries a danger to the child’s health, with possible short-term and long-term complications.

Premature birth and air pollution in winter

There is a link between the environment and biological risk factors. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy is associated with the risk of premature or premature birth. This risk is higher with exposure during the third trimester. Inhaling polluted air increases toxic chemicals in the blood and emphasizes the immune system. It can also be associated with an unfavorable vaginal microbiota. All of this can eventually cause changes in the placenta, resulting in premature birth.

With increasing pollution, especially in winter, pregnant women should try to limit their exposure to these pollutants as much as possible for the benefit of their baby. It is likely to provide significant health benefits.

Premature birth and COVID-19

Roman coronavirus has been spreading all over the world for almost a year now and has taken a hefty toll. In general, the elderly and people with weakened immunity have the highest risk of developing complications of a viral infection. When it comes to pregnant women and COVID-19 , premature birth of their children, stillbirths and loss of pregnancy are the main concerns that need to be addressed.

Several research studies have been conducted to understand the effects of this virus on the outcome of pregnancy and newborns. For now, there are no indications that pregnant women are more susceptible to serious infection. Studies also do not suggest an increased risk of congenital anomalies, early pregnancy loss or miscarriage in pregnant women. However, the infection is associated with an increased risk of premature birth. Pregnant women are therefore advised to take extra precautions and follow all necessary guidelines to avoid infection. COVID-19 .

This article was written by Dr. Ranjana Sharma, Sr. Consultant for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Delhi.

For more information, read our article on Pregnancy and COVID-19 .

Health posts in Firstpost were written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and largest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all health matters.