Have you checked your home for possible indoor air pollution issues? If you are an expectant mother, your breathing should be one of your concerns.
Once you realize that you are pregnant, you will get a lot of instructions on what to do and what to avoid. At this point in time, it is very important to keep yourself healthy. Anything that happens to your body will have an effect on your unborn child.
This is why you have to be very careful about the food that you eat, what you drink, and even what you breathe in. Naturally, people would focus on what they breathe outside. It is very hard to control the quality of air outdoors. You have burning fuel, emissions from vehicles and buildings, cigarette smoke, etc. All of these are hazardous to your health.
But what about the inside? Believe it or not, it can also pose a problem for you
The threat of indoor air pollution
The truth is, people are also prone to air pollution inside the comforts of their home. And most people spend the majority of their time indoors!
If you have bad air quality at home, it can lead to negative health effects. Some of these will affect pregnant women. Some will compromise the development of the fetus inside the womb. While others will manifest when the baby comes out or when the child gets older.
So what are these threats caused by indoor air pollution?
Indoor air pollution can result in lower birth weight
The first evidence is low birth weight. If the baby is only 5 pounds (2,500 grams) or less, that is considered below the average birth weight. A healthy baby usually weighs 6 to 9 pounds. One of the factors that contribute to this is air pollution. It was observed in one study that babies born of mothers who lived in polluted areas are lighter by 0.69 pounds (314 grams).
Asthma is often cause by indoor air pollution
Air pollution can trigger a lot of respiratory ailments. This includes asthma attacks. A mother with asthma will not really pose a danger to her unborn child. However, if that is not controlled, it can lead to complications in the pregnancy. One of the things that can happen includes pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, high blood pressure, etc. Of course, there is also the risk of the child developing asthma.
Another risk for pregnant women is preterm birth. There are so many complications that can happen. When a baby does not complete the term inside their mother’s womb, they will most likely be born underdeveloped. While technological advancements have made miracles happen, the baby might suffer long-term physical disabilities or neurological disorders. Breathing difficulties, congenital diseases, immature systems are only among the things that preterm birth can bring.
Miscarriage and fertility issues
When a pregnant woman is exposed to air pollution, it can lead to miscarriage. This can be very emotionally devastating for everyone. But most importantly, it can be physically dangerous to the mother. There is a high chance that this can lead to fertility problems. It might be harder to conceive again. So if you are trying to have a baby and you are not successful, the quality of air around you might be one thing to check out.
There has been a significant rise in autism spectrum disorders over the years. There was a 2014 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that revealed how this could be caused by exposure to bad air conditions during the third trimester.
These are only some of the things that might have an effect on your pregnancy. From gestational diabetes to delayed psychological and psychomotor development, the list is endless. Make sure that when you are expecting, the air quality that you breathe in is very good.
How to keep indoor air pollution from happening
If you have a smoker in the family, they can compromise the quality of air in your home. Even if they smoke outside, pregnant women are still in danger of second-hand smoke. When someone smokes, the smell and toxic particles will cling to their clothes. When pregnant women inhale that, it can still be dangerous to their unborn child.
But that is not all. The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in your home will also play a role in the quality of the air circulating. If your HVAC system is not well-maintained or cleaned, it can pose a danger to pregnant women and everyone else living there.
So to make sure that you are inhaling clean air, always clean your HVAC system. Regularly clean or replace dirty air filters.
Placing humidifiers or air purifiers can also help improve the quality of air in your home. But of course, the focal point should be your HVAC system. If you can avoid it, do not use a system that might risk your home to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Once your baby is born, you will be happy that your home does not have indoor air pollution problems. It will actually be very good for everyone living in your home.