A pregnant woman in a house with the words, "indoor air pollution and pregnancy."


Have you ever heard of “sick-building syndrome”?

It’s a condition that can impact the air health of the building, infecting all inhabitants. Typically, inhabitants of the building or home will develop headaches and respiratory infections that can be attributed to poor ventilation. While this syndrome usually impacts office buildings, in some cases it can be found in homes.

When you or someone you know is pregnant, it is particularly important to ensure that they have the best air, water, or food to eat. To understand more about the importance of indoor air quality and pregnancy, please read on. 

What Is Indoor Air Pollution? 

Air pollution is classified as harmful substances that contaminate the air and place individuals’ health at risk. The following air pollutants could be found in your home: 

  • Smoke from tobacco products. 
  • Asbestos 
  • Carbon monoxide (from gas leaks) 
  • Dust 
  • Mold 
  • Pollen 
  • Pet dander
  • Pet fumes 
  • Other strong chemicals. 

Air pollution can impact different parts of your health and can act as an irritant to your eyes, throat, and lungs. Unfortunately, when left untreated, these symptoms can get worse, especially if you suffer from asthma or lung problems. 

Can Indoor Air Pollution Affect My Pregnancy and Baby? 

Residential AC Units surrounded by gravel

If you do not have access to healthy air then the severest effects include premature birth and low birth weight. If a baby is born thirty-seven weeks shy of pregnancy, it is termed a premature birth.

Correspondingly, low birth weight is when a baby is born weighing less than five pounds, eight ounces. Exposure to indoor air pollutants that hold toxic substances such as carbon monoxide or asbestos can increase the chances of stillbirth. 

If you are continually breathing in poor air, it can also increase the risk that your baby can develop breathing problems. 

Different Air Pollutants and Their Effect on an Unborn Baby 

Asbestos 

Asbestos is known to be a mineral that can resist fire and heat. It was actually a popular material in roofing through the 1940s and 1970s. Moreover, some older homes still have asbestos in their house as insulation for pipes, stoves, walls, and ceilings. 

High levels of exposure to asbestos over a long period of time can lead to serious health problems such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. While it is true that asbestos does not directly impact the health of an unborn baby, the mother can be harmed when exposed to asbestos for long periods of time. When the mother is at risk, then the baby is at risk.

Carbon Monoxide 

Carbonbine Monoxide is a poisonous gas that is emitted from gas appliances like your stove. There are many symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include: 

  • Nausea 
  • Exhaustion 
  • Confusion 
  • Poor muscle coordination 
  • Feelings of faintness 

When mothers are exposed to carbon monoxide for extended periods of time, premature birth, fetal death, or neurological deficits can occur. 

Cleaning Product Fumes 

Cleaning products are composed of a lot of substances and chemicals. Each of these solvents, acids, and fragrances can cause a lot of problems for individuals in the short and long term. Moreover, some of these can be quite dangerous when they are combined with other cleaning products. If a home has poor ventilation, exposure to a trapped cleaning product can have a negative impact on a child or baby. These negative impacts include asthma and birth defects. 

Mold 

Mold on a ceiling

Mold is a fungus that can spread through tiny spores that float through the air. Mold can be found in many areas of the home, including the kitchen, basement, bathrooms, air conditioners, humidifiers, trash cans, mattresses, carpet, and more. When you breathe in or touch mold, it can lead to significant health problems including allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems. These symptoms include the following: 

  • Stuffy or runny nose and sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Skin rash
  • Severe headaches

While there isn’t enough information to conclude that mold can directly affect unborn babies, mold does have the impact of harming the mother and father of the unborn child. 

How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home? 

After all of this knowledge pertaining to the dangers of unclean air, it’s important to know that you do have an opportunity to solve these problems. For instance, you can invest in annual air duct cleanings, which will increase the quality of your home’s indoor air. Air duct cleanings can also save the efficiency and longevity of your HVAC unit because it makes it easier for the conditioned air to reach the different parts of the household. 

Another often overlooked factor is to make sure that you are using your cooking vents. When you use your cooking vents you are filtering out the contaminants that are released by your gas stove, which includes carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. 

When you keep your home clean, you also improve the air quality of your home. This is particularly true if you have pets. By vacuuming at least once a day you can enhance the overall air quality in your home. Other things that you can do include controlling the humidity in your home and installing air purifiers. Alongside a well-maintained HVAC unit, an air purifier can keep your household air clean and healthy. 

Need Help Improving Your Indoor Air Quality? 

Our team at Comfort Masters Heating & Air Conditioning would be glad to help you get your indoor air quality sorted out. Founded in 2003, we provide many reliable HVAC services including air filter cleaning. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!