Breathing For Two: 5 Ways In Which Pollution Harms Pregnant Women

As pollution in Delhi reaches 'severe' levels, the health implications extend to the vulnerable group of pregnant women. Here are five significant adverse effects of pollution on pregnancy, including fetal development, respiratory issues and more

Julisha Moraes
New Update
Pollution and Pregnancy

Image Source: Medically Speaking

As the air quality in several regions of Delhi-NCR plunges into the 'severe' category, there is growing concern among medical experts about the severe implications of pollution, especially on pregnant women. According to Dr Dhiren Gupta, a senior paediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, as reported in an article by LiveMint, the repercussions of pollution extend far beyond just respiratory discomfort.


In this article, we explore the top five harmful effects of pollution on pregnant women, shedding light on the urgency of addressing this critical issue.

1. Fetal Development

Pregnant women exposed to high levels of pollution are at risk of compromising their unborn child's development. Airborne pollutants can hinder fetal growth, leading to low birth weight and preterm births, which can have long-term health consequences for the infant.

2. Respiratory Diseases

The increased exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and other pollutants can elevate the risk of respiratory issues in pregnant women. Conditions such as asthma and bronchitis can worsen, making breathing a struggle, and impacting both the mother and baby's health.

3. Allergies and Immunological Impact


As Dr Gupta pointed out, pollution during pregnancy can trigger allergic responses in the unborn child. The infant is more likely to develop allergies later in life, as their immune system is influenced by the polluted environment they were exposed to during gestation.

 Dr Gupta said, "Once you are exposed in pregnancy, there is a very high chance that an unborn newborn will be allergic later on."

4. Premature Births

One of the most concerning effects of pollution is its association with premature births. Babies born before completing their full term can face numerous health challenges and complications, making it crucial to combat pollution to ensure the well-being of both mother and child.

5. Developmental Delays

Exposure to pollutants like heavy metals and chemicals can result in developmental delays in children. These delays can manifest in various forms, including cognitive and motor skill impairments, affecting the child's quality of life.


As Delhi grapples with worsening air quality, the impact on pregnant women and their infants cannot be understated. It is imperative to raise awareness, implement stricter environmental regulations, and take individual and collective actions to combat pollution. The health of our future generations depends on the actions we take today.

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