What Environmental Dangers Should Pregnant Women Watch Out For?

Posted by | October 02, 2019 | Because You Asked | No Comments

Does Air Pollution in the Environment Affect My Baby’s Development In Utero?

Being pregnant can be a wonderful time of contentment as your fetus develops and grows–mixed with excited anticipation thinking of the day you’ll finally “meet” your newborn next generation. Pregnancy can also bring worries about whether you’re doing all you can to help your baby become healthy, strong and ready to greet the world. Happily, statistics are on your side, with excellent odds that you’ll have a healthy baby, undamaged by environmental factors.

What Are the Chances of Birth Defects from Environmental Causes? What About Household Chemical Exposure?

Although potential “dangers” may seem to lurk everywhere, many are sensationalized in the press and magnified by your concern for having a healthy child. Only 4 percent (or less) of infants are born with birth defects, and of these, only a tiny percentage is due to known environmental causes, according to recent studies from the March of Dimes and National Institute of Environmental Health Science. Most of these environmental risks involve poor nutrition, smoking, drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs. Yes, you should reduce your exposure to household cleaning chemicals and solvents, however, as long as you are following your physician’s advice during pre-natal checkups, don’t let worry overtake you.

How Do I Protect Myself From Environmental Dangers, Illness and Bacteria?

Proper diet is crucial and can work wonders, even if your hometown or city doesn’t have the best air quality. Eating well seems to lessen the negative impact of polluted air, strengthening your body overall and shoring up the immune system. Eating abundant fresh fruits and veggies will improve your health and help ensure the best pregnancy outcome. (But don’t beat yourself up for giving in to pregnancy cravings now and then.) Follow your doctor’s advice about healthy weight gain and vitamins or supplements. These basics can help maintain your health during pregnancy–even in the face of environmental challenges.

Airborne Pollen is Causing My Allergies to Flare Up. Will This Affect My Pregnancy or Infant’s Health?

You may want to avoid outdoor exercise and stay mostly indoors during smog alerts or high pollen counts, but don’t avoid important appointments. Check with your doctor before taking any medications, including those for allergies. Indoor air quality is actually more important, so keep your home clean, control excess humidity and avoid commonly known dangers like second-hand smoke.

What is the Best Climate and Environment for Pregnancy Health? Is Dry Air or Ocean Air Better?

There’s really no “best” climate. Humidity can be a negative factor, but mostly because it can lead to mold growth in the home.

Should I Relocate or Change Jobs for the Health of My Fetus, Newborn Baby and Myself? What if I Can’t Afford to Do Either?

Provided that you’re not exposed to organic solvents, spray paint and lacquer, dry-cleaning chemicals, peeling lead paint, mercury and/or pesticides regularly, there’s little to worry about. Avoid painting walls or refinishing furniture while pregnant. Be sure to talk about any environmental rumors or fears with your physician when you have a concern to avoid unnecessary anxiety.

Limit stress by learning what to expect during each phase of pregnancy. You can get expert tips and exchange ideas with other women—here on BabyQ.com.

[Image Courtesy of BigStock Photo]
Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”