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How Does Poor Air Quality Affect Pregnant Women?

How Does Poor Air Quality Affect Pregnant Women?

There are so many things to think about while planning for a baby. It’s simple enough to avoid seafood and alcohol while pregnant, but what about the air you breathe?

For years now, researchers have studied how air pollution impacts pregnancy. According to, the prognosis looks more serious with every finding.

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution comes in many forms. Vehicle exhaust and building emissions create much of Utah’s pollution, made worse by weather inversions caused by Utah’s unique geography during cold weather months.

Utah inversion air pollution

Symptoms of prolonged exposure to air pollution include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sinus irritation
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung damage
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer

Although air pollution is unhealthy for all people, it’s especially problematic for pregnant women, babies, children, and the elderly.

Dangers of Air Pollution Exposure During Pregnancy

Low Birth Weight – Exposure to air pollution has been shown to cause low birth weight. Babies under five pounds eight ounces are considered “low birth weight.” On average, one in every 12 babies in America is born underweight. Exposure to air pollution is speculated to cause this complication.

Preterm Birth – According to a study by The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York, nearly three million babies are born prematurely each year because of air pollution.

Utah low birth weight.jpg

Autism – A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that women exposed to high particulate matter pollution during their third trimesters were twice as likely to deliver a child with autism.

Asthma – A study led by UCSF found that infants living in communities with high automobile exhaust are more likely to develop childhood asthma than those living with less pollution.

How to Protect Yourself from Air Pollution While Pregnant

Read the Air Quality Index – Check your zip code on the Air Quality Index (AQI). If your air quality is orange (or worse), then try to stay indoors.

Get an Air Purifier – According to the EPA, Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors where pollutants are two to five times higher than outdoors. You can help solve this problem by purchasing air purifiers for your home, enabling your baby to grow in a healthier environment.

Get Air-Purifying Plants – Plants can naturally filter your air and help you and your growing baby breathe healthier air. It is recommended to get one plant for every 100 square feet of your home to help maintain cleaner air.

Utah air purifying house plants.jpg

The number of precautions new moms face may feel overwhelming, but avoiding air pollution is one you want to prioritize.