What is the impact of haze on pregnant women?
Haze is not a new issue in Malaysia. This issue has been aroused in our country since the 90s. There are a lot of factors that lead to this problem such as the rise of infrastructures (e.g: waste of the factories) and smokes of the motor vehicles. However, in Malaysia, most of the hazardous haze incidents are due to the drastic burning of the forests. Haze increases the densities of the multiple air pollutants in the ecosystems. Thus, few questions have been aroused on the effects of the air pollutants’ exposure towards our health especially the pregnant women. Does the exposure of the air pollutants on the pregnancy harm the pregnant mothers? Or do they harm the fetus as well?
There are few studies has been done to get to know the effect of the air pollutants’ exposure to the pregnancy. In January 2020, it was a cohort study published on the association of maternal air pollution exposure with the risk of congenital heart defect (CHD) in pre-pregnancy overweighted women. In the study, almost 64 000 pregnant mothers in Foshan, one of the districts in the Republic of China were recruited and followed from their first hospital visit for pregnancy until the delivery in the year range of 2015 to 2019. As a result, the numbers of babies with CHD were collected. Throughout 5 years of study, a total of 985 (1.6%) newborns were identified with CHD. The result obtained has shown the associated air pollutants involved are O3 and NO2 with particulate pollutants (PM2.5). Besides, few other studies have been done and ongoing studies to find more correlation of more particular air pollutants exposure to pregnant women with the health of mothers and fetuses.
When there is a problem aroused, people start looking for a solution. People in the metropolitan city such as Kuala Lumpur are the most one that looks for the solution to the haze issues as the risk were all around themselves. That is why a question of ‘Is there any of haze treatments in Kuala Lumpur?’ being asked frequently. As we know, the respective bodies did a lot of initiatives to improve the air quality during the haze such as cloud seeding. It was an effective solution as raindrops reduce the density of the air pollutants. However, there are more can be done especially as individuals during the haze. All the exposed individuals including the pregnant mothers need to take a preventive measure during the haze to reduce the risk of any harm to themselves and also to the fetuses. One of the best protections is to get the N95 mask on and wear it properly. To get the proper fit of the mask, you may check that the mask is appropriately sized and covers the nose and mouth without a leak. You may reuse the mask but you are prohibited to share the mask. On the other hand, if you at home, please close your doors and windows most of the time, fans and air-conditioners may be used for air circulation and portable air purifiers are recommended during the haze. Last but not least, if you are having any symptoms such as cough, runny nose, breathlessness or any other illness during the haze, please get to the nearby healthcare centre to get the medical attention. It is always better to get to know about your health condition as quickly as you can. Time is always the key to all health issues.