Air pollution is unhealthy for anyone to breathe, but the complications can be especially dire if you’re pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about the effect of poor indoor air quality on birth outcomes and what you can do to protect yourself and your unborn child.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
Many people assume outdoor air is more polluted than indoor air. However, while car exhaust and smokestacks lead to smog, your indoor air might not be as clean as you think. Examples of indoor air pollution include:
- Carbon monoxide
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Tobacco smoke
Can Indoor Air Pollution Affect Pregnancy?
Yes. Exposure to ambient air pollution during pregnancy is associated with these problems:
- Small size for the gestational age
- Stillbirth, when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Preterm delivery before 37 weeks
- Low birth weight of under 5 pounds, 8 ounces
While many formal studies exploring the effects of air pollution on pregnancy have targeted outdoor pollutants, indoor air quality is also a significant factor. After all, pregnant women tend to spend most of their time indoors at home, especially toward the end of their pregnancy.
Tips to Limit Your Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution
If you’re worried about poor indoor air quality and how it could affect your pregnancy, follow these tips to limit your exposure:
- Hire a professional to inspect for asbestos insulation. If it’s in good condition, it may be best to leave it alone. However, if you’re renovating your home, you’ll need a licensed contractor to remove it.
- Prevent carbon monoxide exposure by installing CO alarms outside all sleeping areas. Then, only use fuel-burning appliances such as grills and generators outdoors, and never let the car idle in the garage.
- Control dampness in your home to prevent mold growth. This includes fixing plumbing and roof leaks, running the bathroom exhaust fan while showering, and keeping the windows closed when it’s humid outside.
- Choose no-VOC paint, and ask a family member to complete the painting project. Then, keep the windows and doors open for 48 hours to ventilate the newly painted space.
- Test your home for radon using a DIY kit or by hiring a professional. If the levels are high, install a radon mitigation system.
- Don’t smoke, don’t allow others to smoke in your home, and stay away from places where people smoke.
- Only use air cleaners that don’t produce ozone, and avoid outdoor exercise when the air quality index is above 100.
- Install an air purifier. Indoor air quality products help you breathe easy by removing pollutants from the air. The REME Halo® whole-home air purifier is particularly effective against bacteria, mold, and viruses.
If you’re interested in adding indoor air quality products to your Orem or Draper home, please contact Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling at 801-890-2037 for more information.