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Mumbai roads could kill... your unborn child

india Updated: Jul 24, 2008 00:06 IST
Alifiya Khan

Pray this doesn’t happen in your city. Miscarriages in Mumbai increased by an estimated 10 per cent in the past two years, and doctors said among the culprits are the city’s bad roads, full of potholes.

“Often, women who travel extensively by bad roads come in bleeding and the pregnancy is lost,” said Dr Narendra Malhotra, president of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society of India and a resident of Agra, a city notorious for its “abortion roads”.

In 2004, Malhotra and Mumbai gynaecologist Dr Pranay Shah conducted a study in Mumbai of 200 women who had had two or more abortions. They found nearly three per cent of pregnancies are lost are because of bad roads and related factors.

“The number — compared with miscarriages owing to genetic and lifestyle causes — is small. But it is significant, especially because these miscarriages are avoidable,” said Pai.

Dr Nikhil Datar, gynaecologist at Nanavati Hospital, said bad roads could be a precipitating factor in miscarriages. “We get patients who have been involved in accidents because of potholes and have had miscarriages or have started bleeding when the jolt was very bad. It is better to be careful in the first few weeks as they are crucial,” he said.

Last week, the civic body had detected 4,322 potholes. A civic spokesperson claimed that, of them, 4,196 potholes had been filled in last week.

Mumbai doctors say the percentage of women having miscarriages because of lifestyle disorders was slowly on the rise. “This is the second most common reason for miscarriages, genetic problems in the foetus being the main one. When women are obese, they might be suffering from problems like polycystic ovaries (cysts in the ovaries) or diabetes or hypo-thyroidism leading to loss of pregnancy,” said Dr Duru Shah, gynaecologist at Breach Candy hospital.