Breathe Easy: Improving the Air Quality in Your Home for a Safer Pregnancy

If you’re like most pregnant women, you’ve probably heard from your doctor that you must avoid germs that could make you sick and weaken your body during this delicate time. You’re probably making an effort to wash your hands and eat right, and you’ve probably also taken steps to make sure that your home is relatively germ-free. However, even if you clean regularly, dusting and vacuuming scrupulously, your home may still contain microscopic allergens like pollens, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and mildew. These air-born allergens can invade your body through your lungs and lead to many different health problems that are especially undesirable during pregnancy.

So what can you do to improve the air quality in your home? You can begin with these simple steps

  • Dust can collect in your home’s air ducts, creating a breeding ground for allergens. These microbes are blown into the air when you turn on the heat or air conditioner. Check your air ducts and vents often and clean out any residue or mold you find there. You may need to get them professionally checked and cleaned.
  • Do not use scented perfumes, candles, and scented laundry detergent. Avoid products containing dibutyl phthalate (DBP), an ingredient found in cosmetics like nail polish. And stay away from aerosol sprays like deodorant and hairspray. Use gel or solid creams instead.
  • Houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of benzene and nitrogen oxides. The best plants for counteracting impurities in the air include Boston ferns, weeping figs, and English ivy. And they look pretty, too.
  • A wood-burning stove or fireplace may release poisonous emissions like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. If possible, avoid wood-burning heat.

Purchasing an air filtration system is an excellent idea if you want to go a step further in protecting yourself. The effectiveness of a particular model depends on how much air is circulated through the filtering screen. Low air circulation may work for smaller rooms or studio apartments, but it won’t do much good for a larger home with many rooms. As you shop for an air purifier, carefully note the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). A higher CADR rate means the device will return clean air into a room at a higher volume, which is especially beneficial for larger homes. A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter removes 99.97% of contaminants down to a size of 0.3 microns.

If you have any pregnancy or birthing questions, feel free to email me.

I’m looking forward to helping you to have a safe, healthy pregnancy and delivery!

Mark Zakowski, M.D.
The Safe Baby System