Hypertension, which is an increase in blood pressure, can be dangerous for pregnant women and for their developing babies. Increased blood pressure can contribute to the development of conditions, such as preeclampsia in some mothers, and while these conditions are relatively rare, occurring in less than 10% of pregnancies, researchers are trying to understand how environmental factors may play a role in a woman’s risk of developing these conditions. Recent research focused on outdoor air quality, particularly in the types of air pollution released from forest fires, car exhaust, power plants, and other industrial sources. These pollutants, when found in high concentration, can cause a number of health related issues, from allergy like symptoms, to more serious heart and lung problems. The study found that pregnant women exposed to these outdoor air pollutants had a greater risk of developing hypertensive disorders. More research is needed to determine how great a role environmental factors have, but for now, researchers are calling for tighter air pollution controls.
It is always a good idea to limit exposure to outdoor air pollutants, not only for expectant mothers but for us all, particularly those in cities or industrial areas. One of the easiest and best tools to use is a local air quality forecast, such as Air Now. By monitoring air quality in your city, you can plan the best times to venture outside, and the best times to stay indoors. At home, keep your indoor air quality pristine by keeping humidity levels low, using low VOC emitting paints and cleaners, and running an air purifier with a true HEPA filter, such as our BioGS 2.0, to filter out particle and chemical pollutants and keep air fresh and clean.