Breathe Naturally - November 2, 2023
Are Air Purifiers Safe During Pregnancy?
Having a baby can be one of the most stressful times of your entire life, both for you and your supporting spouse. Whether its the morning sickness, the late-night cravings, mood swings, lifestyle changes, or just the sheer exhaustiveness out it all, surviving pregnancy takes a whole team of people armed with experience and love.
One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to making it through pregnancy and preparing for a newborn is the quality of air in your home. Air purifiers are not only safe and beneficial to the health of the pregnant mother, but also help with the development of the baby, promoting stronger lungs and heavier birth weight.
Air Pollution Outside & Inside your Home
Air pollution is a problem that doesn't get the kind of attention that it deserves. When the average person thinks about air pollution the image of a large semi-truck with a metal smokestack expelling thick black smoke appears in their mind however air pollution can be a lot more subtle and dangerous than semi exhaust fumes and hits a lot closer to home than most people expect.
Pollution comes in all forms and is defined as "the presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects." This should be your first clue that pollution of any kind is harmful to your health.
Pollution isn't just an outdoor problem. Indoor air becomes foul without proper ventilation and air circulation. Airborne particulates such as dust, allergens, dander and mold spores can be equally harmful to your health and are practically invisible.
Just as a reminder, smoking of any kind, as well as second-hand smoke is extremely harmful to pregnant women and their babies. Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke is a must during pregnancy, if not for you, than for your baby.
When preparing for your new addition, painting, new carpeting and cleaning products give off tons of odors that aren't good for your health. These chemicals are known as VOCs and if not properly ventilated/eliminated can build up and cause light-headedness, irritate your skin and are dangerous to you and your baby's lungs.
Pollution Related Birth DefectsAir pollution is the leading cause of birth defects, behind alcohol and drug abuse. Keeping the air quality in your home fresh and healthy doesn't have to be the most extensive operation you take on this year.
In fact, with just a little preparation it can be an almost effortless process that you get to reap the benefits from, but just in case you aren't yet convinced, here are some of the potential birth defects you risk when you're not actively monitoring the air quality in your home.
Lowered Birth Weights
Fine particulate matter is the pollutant most often linked with health effects and is the hardest to spot. In a study conducted by the SFU (Simon Fraser University) researchers found, "Pregnant women who used HEPA air purifiers inside their homes gave birth to babies that weighed 85 grams more on average at term than women who did not use air cleaners during pregnancy.
It should be noted that this study took place in Mongolia, which has the highest levels of air pollution in the world. However, regardless of the pollution levels in your corner of the globe, no area is pollution-free and you should always be mindful of the surrounding air quality while pregnant.
Increased Risk of Severe Asthma Attacks
Increased exposure to pollutants during pregnancy and in young children has also been linked to asthma problems and sensitivity to allergens. A study done last year in Perth, Australia found young children living closer to traffic pollution were 70% more likely to have a severe asthma attack than those living in areas not heavily polluted.
Congenital Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are a problem with the structure of the heart. They are the most common type of birth defect. The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles recently found a link between high levels of carbon monoxide and particle pollution and preterm delivery and congenital heart defects. Whether or not you live in a heavily populated area, you're going to be exposed to at least some level of pollution during your pregnancy, so taking caution and installing an air purifier can only help you, not hurt you.
Stay Away from Ozone Emitting Purifiers!
This is unless you get an air purifier that emits ozone. STAY AWAY FROM OZONE EMITTING PURIFIERS AT ALL COSTS! While a normal air purifier takes particles out of the air leaving it fresh and clean, an ozone purifier emits "ozone particles" into the air, which are supposed to trap smells leaving your space smelling fresh just like a normal purifier would. However, there are tons of unintended consequences when using ozone to clean a room.
The same property that makes ozone so effective for cleaning a room, also makes them super harmful when inhaled. Ozone reacts with almost anything it comes into contact with, including your lungs, face, eyes and mouth and nose.
Anywhere ozone makes contact with your skin, it's going to react in a rather unpleasant way. Not only is this harmful for a pregnant mother, but also to the little one breathing in the same air as you. Ozone can really hurt little baby's lungs and SHOULD NEVER be used during pregnancy or right after.
A proper air purifier with a hepa and carbon filtration system will give you all the benefits of clean, fresh air without any of the harmful side effects.
Protecting yourself from polluted air
So we have established that air pollution is bad for you and your little ones. We've gone over the possible health defects such pollution can cause and now we're going to talk about what you can do to protect yourself from that nasty pollution.
Close Windows - Crank Up AC
Whether you live in a densely populated area or in the middle of nowhere, leaving the windows closed and AC on is going to not only make the quality of air in your home much better, but also is going to make it a lot easier to keep the air quality in your home fresh, temperate and pollution-free.
Contrary to popular belief, air conditioning does not pull air from outside the home, instead, a centralized unit in your home pulls air through a high-efficiency filter and is constantly pushing fresh air to each area in your home.
This doesn't mean you cant have your windows open from time to time, in fact we actually recommend ventilating your home with outside air on a regular basis, but only when the temperature, pollen & pollution levels are normal.
Change Filters & Properly Ventilate
Before you crank up the AC, be sure to check the status of your furnace/duct filters. If your filters are too dirty they're going to release the same harmful particles you're trying to get rid of, right back into the air, not benefiting you at all.
Be sure to check your vents and ducts to make sure they are open and not obstructed so they're ready to circulate fresh air throughout your home. If you're painting or setting up a nursery, make sure the areas you're working on have proper ventilation to keep bad, chemically-saturated air from building up in one spot.
Rising Face Mask Trend
Face masks aren't only good for keeping your germs to yourself when you head to the hospital but they can also keep you from inhaling harmful pollutants when outside your home. Just take a look at China and Japan.
Both places have large population centers with heavy amounts of pollution that would top any city in the US. Residents in those countries have taken measures to wear facemasks any time they're in public to keep themselves from inhaling the toxic pollutants in the air.
While the air quality in most places of the united states is a lot better than in Japan and China, air pollution exists almost everywhere and wearing a mask when outdoors will help to reduce the amount of pollutants that get into your system. Unless you live in a densely populated area, you can probably skip this tip.
Install an Air purifier w/ Carbon Filter
Last but certainly not least, installing an air purifier is a must-have if you want to eliminate and keep pollutants from building up in your home. Air purifiers remove pollutants from the air with each pass through the filter.
Most purifiers are designed to circulate the air in each room, up to 5 times per hour keeping the air in your home fresh and clean all day long. Make sure your purifier includes a high efficiency HEPA filter and carbon filter for the best results.
A carbon prefilter stops large airborne particles like pet hair, dander, pollen and other allergens, as well as VOC's. Carbon's special large surface area trait allows it to capture and trap foul odors and smells that wouldn't normally be captured with just a hepa filter. Carbon prefilters also improve the lifespan of the hepa giving you more bang for your buck.
Don't forget to change your filters regularly to keep them for working against you and emitting harmful particles and smells back into the air. We recommend changing Hepa filters (main filter) every 4-6 months and the carbon filters every 1-2 months for the most efficient filtration possible.
Benefits of using a purifier during pregnancy
Using an air purifier before, during and after pregnancy has so many added benefits you'll be wondering why you haven't been using an air purifier your entire life.
Air purifiers are perfect at doing just what their name implies, purifying the air. That doesn't mean adding a bunch of chemicals to the air to make it smell nice. A purifier, filters and sucks airborne particles right out of the air leaving you with a cleaner, purer air than before. The best purifier machines circulate air 5 times per hour leaving you with a better smelling, cleaner air after only a few passes.
Cleaner air for you and your baby is only a few button pushes away. Purified air promotes better circulation through your lungs and nasal passages keeping you free from congestion. Fresh air is also good for mood improvements and promotes positive thinking.
When you install a purifier with a carbon filter, you're installing an invisible net that sucks in and traps odors and other particles that you don't want stinking up your home. As we mentioned above, a carbon filter is great at removing those harmful particles that aren't so easy to capture as well as extending the life span of the HEPA filter.
Last but not least, using an air purifier while pregnant leads to an, on average, 85 gram heavier baby. The effects of good quality, purified air usually go unnoticed, but when low quality, polluted air is present the effects are felt heavily. Save yourself the trouble and install an air purifier before its too late.
Recommended Pregnancy Air Purifiers
So we've sold you on the benefits of installing an air purifier, but which one do you choose? We told you to stay away from ozone purifiers at all costs, and that you should get a purifier with a Hepa and Carbon filter, but lots of purifiers have those. Which purifier is best for me? When it comes to finding a purifier for pregnancy and after, you'll want to look for the following features.
Quiet operation noise so you can get to sleep and stay asleep without any distractions. This is also a great feature for after you have the baby, and can be used as white noise if need be. Great for keeping your little one asleep.
WiFi and Alexa enabled. The last thing you want is to be all comfortable in bed or on the couch, and then realize you forget to turn the purifier on or need to change its settings. Controllable from your phone or with your voice, with the help of Alexa, change the fan speed, clean settings, or even set a shutdown timer, all from the palm of your hand. Think of the possibilities.
Medify MA-25 Air PurifierRated for Rooms up to 1000 sq. ft.
*Best in Class* High-Efficiency Electrostatic Hepa Filter + Carbon Prefilter
The Medify MA-25 Air Purifier not only rates among the top purifiers on the market today, but also is one of the most durable, and best bangs for your buck. For a more complete look at the Medify MA-25 Air Purifier, check out our Buyers Guide. For the current price on Amazon Click Here.
Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier
Rated for Rooms up to 1095 sq. ft.
High-Efficiency Electrostatic Hepa Filter + Carbon Prefilter.
For more info on the Levoit Core 300 Air purifier check out our in-depth article/complete buyers guide for the unit. For the current price of the Levoit Core 300 on Amazon click here!
Best All Around Purifier - Honeywell Hpa300
Some of the most popular and well-liked purifiers on the market today are the Honeywell Hpa100-300 Hepa Air Purifiers. These machines cut out all of the unnecessary components of an air purifier and spend those savings on quality high-efficiency parts.
While the Hpa100 and Hpa200 series purifiers are both excellent machines, the Hpa300 takes the cake in both cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
With an effective filtering range of 2250 sq ft, no room is too big for the Honeywell Hpa300 series. It features 3 separate cleaning settings and a turbo cleaning mode for extra power. Filter and circulate the air 5 times an hour (depending on room size) so you can relax and breathe easy knowing the air in your home is fresher, cleaner, and contains fewer allergens.
The Hpa300 series is the best all around purifier in terms of price, effective room size, noise, filtering capabilities and overall air purifier features. For an in-depth look at the Honeywell Hpa300 Series purifier head on over to our complete buyers guide here and for current pricing on Amazon head over here!
Are air purifiers good for newborns?
In case you haven't already figured it out from the article above, air purifier are good for almost any situation as long as they don't emit ozone. That includes newborn babies and toddlers. An air purifier removes particles from the air and traps odors, leaving behind fresher and cleaner air.
Air purifiers can be a parent's best friend, keeping those nasty diaper smells at bay and making sure every breath your little guy takes in is toxin-free so you can focus on the important stuff! For more information on the effects air purifiers have on newborns, babies and toddlers, check out our in-depth article on the topic.
Removing VOCs from your newly built nursery
Preparing for your new addition can be a long and strenuous task, but each step of the way gets you more and more excited and anxious about them finally arriving. When creating/building a nursery for your little one(s) keep in mind some of the harmful chemicals you're expelling into the air.
Toxic particles know as VOCs or Voltaic Organic Compounds are often expelled when painting and installing new carpeting. Taking extra care to properly ventilate these areas and install an air purifier until the odors have subsided will not only keep your lungs healthy, but also keeps those very harmful particles from causing your little one harm too. For more information on VOC's click here.
Is wildfire smoke bad for pregnancy?
Any smoke is bad for pregnancy however, wildfire smoke is especially bad for expecting mothers. Wildfire smoke contains tons of harmful particles that are extremely bad to your health and the health of your baby. During wildfire season an air purifier is a must, even if your surrounding air quality is good right this second, you can never be too safe.
During periods of high air pollution from wildfire smoke, it's recommended that you wear a mask when outside, keep all of your windows closed and rely on the AC for ventilation. Install one or several purifiers throughout your home and make sure to monitor the air quality frequently. Reducing the amount of time you spend exposed to wildfire smoke, the better, because it's really not good for you our your baby.
Check out our guide on The Dangers Wildfire Smoke for more information.