Poor air quality and pregnancy? Yes, ladies…that’s right. We have something else to concern ourselves with. Even not being pregnant I worry about things like this with my children. It’s just a part of life but here’s what we can do.
Does Bad Air Quality Cause Birthing Problems?
There are already so many risks that women need to concern themselves with when they become pregnant. All of a sudden, you have to watch what you eat, the sort of physical activity you do, and even the places you go. Of particular concern to many soon-to-be mothers and their physicians is bad air quality.
Where Does the Bad Air Come From?
Poor air quality is a direct result of pollution. The pollution tends to get worse in cities that are settled in valleys, which tend to trap pollution from businesses and vehicles lower to the valley floor. Although it is generally present all year long, the bad air seems to get particularly powerful in the winter time. This could be a result of homes and businesses using more heating methods, running machines such as snow-blowers, or even idling their cars more than normal.
How Does It Affect a Pregnancy?
Because controlled studies are limited and risky, there are not many studies that produce conclusive results on how bad air affects a pregnancy. Researchers did look at a county in Utah when a steel mill was in and out of operation to see what differences appeared. They found that the most significant effect bad air seemed to have on pregnancies was prematurity.
While premature birth is one risk that seems to be relevant in many areas with polluted air, other problems that could manifest include asthma in the mother or the baby, as well as hypertension (high blood pressure) in the mother.
What Can Expectant Mothers Do?
Getting away from the poor air is ideal for expectant mothers, but it’s not always feasible. The air inside your home comes from the outside, but it is still better than being outside. When you’re expecting, pay attention to and follow the advisory warnings for air quality in your area. Stay inside with your windows closed during peak pollution hours, which is usually around late afternoon. If you must go out for a walk or other errand, reroute to less polluted or lower traffic areas. Drinking fluids to moisten your respiratory tract should help keep you in good shape to battle the poor air as well. You can also make sure air filters in systems around your home are changed regularly, or use portable air purifiers. Pregnant women who already suffer from pre-existing respiratory problems should consult with their physicians for further guidance and treatment during pregnancy.
Coping With Poor Air
Although it is difficult to say definitively that bad air causes specific birthing problems, it does seem to correlate with certain issues such as hypertension, asthma, and premature births. Expectant mothers may not be able to get away from polluted air entirely, but you can take action to limit your contact with it. It is still possible to have a healthy, normal pregnancy while living in or near air of bad quality.