Bringing a child into this world is one of the most incredible wonders in life and it is crucial to do everything in your power to carry out a healthy pregnancy. From routine doctor visits, taking prenatal vitamins, living a healthy lifestyle, and the like; you’ve followed all of the guidelines and tips to ensure that your baby is being taken care of in the womb. While abstaining from drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is obvious to expecting mothers (we hope), there is one environmental risk you may not have considered that can be extremely harmful to your baby and your own health… the air you breathe.
Various studies have shown that breathing in polluted air while pregnant can cause multiple developmental problems with your child. The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) reports that an estimated three million babies are born premature each year due to air pollution, significantly increasing the risk that the child will develop neurological disorders as well as permanent physical disabilities.
It doesn’t stop there, air pollution has also been found to correlate with low birth weights, childhood obesity, higher risk of autism, and lower fertility rates in men and women in case you’re planning on expanding your family even further. Of course, the quality of air you breathe is important to your overall health in general, but it becomes even more essential when carrying another life. At NOW Environmental, we care about your family’s health and well-being and would like to offer a little advice on limiting your exposure to indoor air pollution.
Monitoring the Air Outside
Staying inside for an extended amount of time can give you the feeling of being cooped up and a strong desire to open up a window for some fresh air. While this is completely understandable, we’re definitely not telling you to shut yourself off from the outside world during the duration of your pregnancy, we do however advise that you to take some precautions. Use the website AirNow to monitor the quality of air outside your home and make sure to keep an eye out for any warnings or alerts.
It is also a good idea to avoid opening the windows during the afternoon due to heavy traffic. Mornings and evenings are found to have better air quality. Also, If you live in the heart of the city or alongside a busy road, make sure to be a little more cautious with how frequently you keep the windows open for the exhaust from the cars outside can seep in and pollute the air inside your home.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
This isn’t advice strictly for pregnant women, but for everyone. With no smell, taste, or color, carbon monoxide has been coined a “silent killer” and unsafe levels can only be alerted with the use of a carbon monoxide detector. They can be found at almost any major home improvement store for extremely affordable prices and could save the lives of you and your loved ones.
Certain cleaning products have the capability of producing harmful fumes that, in turn, pollute the air in your home. Make sure that the area you are cleaning is properly ventilated before using any of these products, and it is also highly recommended to wear protective gear like gloves and a mask when cleaning with chemicals. To be extra careful, only use non-chemical cleaners such as all natural cleaning products found at your local grocery store. Baking soda and vinegar have been found to work just as efficiently when cleaning as well. You should also avoid using any air fresheners, aerosols, perfumes or colognes to prevent the mixture of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air.
Change Your Air Filters
It is pretty common to forget about the air filters in your home and, while not necessarily crucial, is very beneficial in preventing the build up of allergens, dust, and airborne germs, increasing the quality of air you breathe. It’s recommended changing these out every month, especially if you own pets. Air purifiers are also a good way to remove air pollution, giving you the quality of air you and your child require.
One of our previous blogs talked about using plants as air purifiers in your home. While they won’t eliminate all of the harmful toxins in the air, they are natural pollution eliminators that will not only help improve the quality of air, but also give your home a nice touch of greenery. Being on a much, much smaller scale, brushing up on your horticulture skills can give you a titch of the feeling you’ll get taking care of your baby. Maybe it’s a drop of water in the ocean in comparison, but it’s something.
It’s important to take even minor steps in improving the quality of air in your home; from breaking out your green thumb to replacing your filters, anything helps. But this is the well-being of your family and you don’t want to hold back when it comes to their safety. At NOW Environmental, we specialize in accurate recognition, evaluation, and control of environmental health issues and provide our customers non-invasive home air checks to observe the chemicals in the air with potential to make you and your baby sick. Ultimately, we’ll provide you with an assessment on your home’s air quality. Gain the peace of mind that the air in your home is safe to breath for you and your little one and make sure to contact us today to schedule a Home Air Check Professional test.