The medical community has devoted much of its teachings for moms-to-be to the need for good nutrition, but until recently, the topic of indoor air quality (IAQ) for pregnant women was rarely discussed. Recent findings about IAQ reveal that it’s every bit as important as exercise and nutrition to every aspect of pregnancy, delivery and a healthy baby.
The most significant finding among the recent studies is that formaldehyde (CH2O) impacts the development of the fetus more than any other common air pollutant. Formaldehyde is used in myriad products, from furniture and many wood products to paper towels, air fresheners, cigarettes and e-cigarettes, permanent press bed sheets and clothing, as well as upholstery fabrics and some curtains.
Although CH2O dissipates from furniture and construction materials over time, bringing it into your home during a pregnancy unwittingly sets the stage for:
- Low birth weight
- Smaller head circumference
- Shorter birth length
Polluted Environments in General
Although CH2O has the distinction of being the most detrimental, carbon monoxide (CO) is another hazardous gas that poses dangers for the unborn fetus. If you have gas appliances in your home, it’s imperative to keep your carbon monoxide detectors in good working order. You may also want to replace your detector with one that provides a constant readout of the CO levels. Even with a low level, continuous exposure to CO harms the unborn.
Researchers have also found that poor IAQ for pregnant women has a direct relationship to the incidence of autism, asthma, and low birth weight. Pollutants include fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and emissions from vehicles and power plants.
How to Avoid Poor IAQ at Home
Adequate ventilation is the best defense against a buildup of pollutants in your indoor air and is as important as regular maintenance of your combustion appliances. Gas water heaters, heating systems, and dryers all need to be checked periodically for safe venting and clean operation.
The pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. can help you learn more about IAQ for pregnant women and ensure that yours is healthy. We provide trusted HVAC services for Monmouth and Ocean county homeowners.