The environmental crisis has become a major threat to the health of expectant mothers and their unborn children, with serious implications for maternal care and neonatal fatalities. In the face of mounting global concerns, it is important to understand how this crisis affects pregnant women and their families, and what measures can be taken to protect their health and safety.
The placenta is remarkable – a temporary organ that nourishes and protects the fetus – and is then discarded when its job is complete. It acts as a gatekeeper between mother and fetus by allowing oxygen and nutrients in while filtering out potentially harmful substances that can affect fetal health. In a world where increasing numbers of environmental pollutants may be putting pregnancies at risk, can the placenta still do its best job?
Harmful toxins can be present in the air, water, the workplace or everyday products. Substances with the potential to harm can be breathed in, absorbed, or consumed by a pregnant woman. They can then affect the fetus via the bloodstream and the placenta. What are some of the biggest offenders?
The LIFESAVER project’s multidisciplinary research will not only change what we know about the placenta and its role in protecting our unborn children; it aims to illuminate more the role that environmental toxins and pollutants play in prenatal health.
To fully develop, babies require a complete term in the womb. The myriad health complications preterm infants are at risk from include respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, intestine issues, a compromised immune system, cardiovascular disorders, hearing and vision problems, and neurological insult. This will impact their lives and could place a significant financial burden on society for several generations.
Nano and microplastics are ever-present in our lives. From plastic cooking utensils causing us to consume them in our dinners to single-use plastics in the ocean that break down and find their way into the fish we eat. Let’s look at what we know about pregnancy-relevant exposures to nano and microplastics and what we at the LifeSaver project are trying to do about it.
The LifeSaver Project aims to reduce infant and neonatal death rates through it’s cutting-edge approach. Its vision is that every pregnant woman should have a safe living environment with minimal risks to the foetus, safeguarded by scientifically justified regulations in the use and control of potentially risky medicinal and chemical products. Ultimately this will result in healthier quality lives for the babies for generations to come.
LifeSaver endeavours to address the unmet healthcare needs related to safeguarding fetal-maternal health especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (the first trimester), which is the most critical period in fetal development.
Environmental pollutants can be considered vicious invisible enemies when it comes to pregnancy. Unseen, these pollutants wreak havoc on the delicate health of the foetus.