Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution And How It Impacts Expectant Mothers
regnancy is an exciting time for parents. They spend every day educating themselves about the new life they’re going to welcome into the world.
Couples who’re expecting are generally quite cautious and want to know what should be avoided during pregnancy. Everyone knows about the smoking and alcohol restriction when they’re pregnant; other factors that are known to be harmful include eating fish with high mercury levels, deli meat, and soft cheese. One factor most people don’t consider, however, is contaminants in the air.
The most common air pollutants that take a toll on our health include ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter, according to the American Lung Association. Air quality is questionable indoors too. Allergens, particulate matter, mold, pet hair, bacteria, carbon monoxide, and VOCs from cleaning agents negatively affect the health of expectant mothers.
Here’s how air quality affects women during pregnancy:
Low birth weight
The healthy weight of a newborn is expected to be between 6 and 9 pounds. Low birth weight is generally categorized as less than 2,500 grams. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8% of babies in the United States are underweight. Air pollution is one of the culprits for low birth weight. A study conducted revealed that mothers living in more polluted areas gave birth to underweight children.
Babies are termed “preemie” or premature when they’re born before the 37th week. Premature babies are at risk for neurological disorders, cardiac problems, neurological disorders, physical disabilities, and other health problems. Premature birth can happen for a number of reasons; however, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute revealed that 18% of preterm births were due to exposure to harmful particulate matter.
Babies born can be on the autism spectrum
Expectant mothers living in poor air quality, especially during the third trimester are at twice the risk of having a child on the autism spectrum. A study undertaken in 2014 came to the conclusion that particulate matter, in particular, was the cause.
Asthma is a condition where the airways get inflamed, narrowing the passage, and making it difficult to breathe. It results in coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. While pregnant mothers who are taking care of their health and living in a healthy environment aren’t significantly at risk, mothers with uncontrolled asthma can experience health issues like high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
Make sure the indoor air quality is your top priority for your partner who’s expecting. Get the air filters changed regularly (as recommended by your HVAC service). Make sure the air purifiers are installed, safe cleaning products are used, and pet hair is removed regularly.
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