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Allergy & Asthma During Pregnancy

Pregnancy3 - 8% of all pregnant women suffer with asthma. One third of them find that their asthma is getting worse during pregnancy. Another third of women find that their asthma symptoms improve and in the remaining third, it tends to stay the same throughout their pregnancy. In the later months, breathlessness often worsens due to the pressure on the diaphragm from the growing foetus.

The importance of controlling your asthma during pregnancy
The importance of allergen avoidance
The "Born in Bradford" study
Cigarette smoke and your unborn child
Other indoor air pollutants
Allergy & Asthma Friendly Cleaning Products
Damp in the home
Further measures to improve indoor air quality
De-cluttering rooms

 

The importance of controlling your asthma during pregnancy

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Poorly controlled asthma can have an effect on both the mother and the child. It can lead to pre-eclampsia, a potentially very serious condition affecting the mother, and the baby may be subject to restricted growth and oxygen deprivation. That is why it is essential to gain optimum control over your asthma symptoms when you are pregnant. Sticking with your prescribed medication is an important part of this.

The importance of allergen avoidance

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Understandably, most women will want to minimise their use of medication during pregnancy. This is why allergen avoidance is more important during pregnancy than ever before. While there have been studies showing that maternal exposure to external air pollution can harm the unborn child, there is not much information about how exposure to indoor air pollution may affect the unborn child. That reflects a general lack of knowledge on how indoor air pollution affects health.

The "Born in Bradford" study

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The "Born in Bradford" study, one of the largest UK studies in child health, covering 10,000 babies born in the city, will provide some answers on the impact of indoor air pollution. The air quality in the homes of pregnant women is being measured to see how it affects the health of the child. It will be several years before the results are known. In the meantime, it makes sense for pregnant women to ensure their indoor air quality is as good as possible.

Cigarette smoke and your unborn child

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One indoor air pollutant that is well documented to have an adverse effect on the unborn child is cigarette smoke. Smoking affects the developing lung, reduces the baby’s oxygen and damages the placenta. Therefore, children born of a mother who smoked in pregnancy seem to be more likely to develop asthma or wheezing in early life.

Other indoor air pollutants

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Other indoor air pollutants to look out for during pregnancy include:

  • Gases from cooking and heaters
  • House dust mite allergens
  • Mould spores
  • Pollen grains
  • Pet dander
  • Traffic pollution
  • Off-gassing from building material and furnishing


Airborne particulate pollution can effectively be removed with an air purifier, preferably one fitted with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. If you are concerned about gaseous pollution, look for an air purifier that also has an activated high quality granular carbon filtration, such as the IQAir HealthPro 250.

Allergy & Asthma Friendly Cleaning Products

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Airborne particles and gas molecules, however, are only part of the problem. There is also settled dust in bedding, soft furnishings, on surfaces, and in carpets. This can contain millions of particles of house dust mite allergens, mould spores and so on. Therefore, regular dusting with special allergy friendly cleaning products such as the ADMS Anti-Allergen Dust Spray and washing of bedding with Allergen Wash Laundry Detergent should be part of the routine to minimise indoor allergen load.

Damp in the home

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Damp in the home can seriously impair air quality by encouraging the growth of mould. Modern homes tend to be a bit too cosy and well-insulated, which is good for energy efficiency but bad for ventilation. The kitchen and bathroom are the main places where damp patches may occur. So it’s a good idea to open the windows during or after cooking, and similarly after showers or baths.

Further measures to improve indoor air quality

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If you are pregnant, it’s likely you have some DIY or decorating planned to make a bedroom for the new arrival. This is a good opportunity to take further measures to improve your indoor air quality. When purchasing paints and other DIY products, look out for low or zero formaldehyde/ VOC options. Formaldehyde, which is one of the most potent indoor pollutants, can off-gas from walls and furniture for many months to come. If paint work is being done in your home, or if there is a smoker, consider investing in an IQAir GC MultiGas, a medical grade air purifier specifically designed for chemical and odour pollution.

De-cluttering rooms

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This is also a good time to think about de-cluttering rooms. Soft furnishings and carpets collect allergen containing dust. If possible, remove carpets and lay hard flooring. Or perhaps take this opportunity to give the carpet a deep steam clean? We would recommend making the nursery a low-allergen zone from the start with barrier covers against house dust mite on mattresses, duvet covers and pillows. Soft toys will likely give your child a lot of pleasure, but they do harbour house dust mite. Destroy mites by washing soft toys and comfort blankets with Allergen Wash Laundry Detergent. In general, keep the baby’s room as simple as possible. This is easier for you to keep clean and tidy and less allergen exposure for them.

Related Products:

All ProductsAllergen Wash DetergentIQAir HealthPro 250Miele S8390 Silence

Pregnancy & Asthma Information | Pregnancy & Allergy Expert Advice Articles

Interview with Dr. Patrick O’Brien

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dr patrick o brien This week Allergy Cosmos spoke with Dr. Patrick O’Brien as part of our series of interviews with allergy and asthma experts across the UK. It is our hope that reading about these experts' opinions and research work will provide you with valuable insight into your own life with allergy, asthma and general air pollution. Dr. Patrick O’Brien is the spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and Consultant & Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College London Hospitals. He spoke to Allergy Cosmos about allergy and asthma during pregnancy.

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Low Birth Weight Due to Air Pollution

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low birth weight due to air pollution Pregnant women have to be very careful about smoke, alcohol and medications - in case their unborn baby should come to any harm through being exposed to toxins. What they often do not think about is that general indoor and outdoor air quality can also pose a threat. There is a lot of evidence that shows a link between low birth weight due to air pollution.

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Prof. Anne Greenough: Vitamins, Pregnancy & Asthma

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Vitamins, Pregnancy & Asthma Did you know that some research has shown that babies born to women with low levels of vitamin E in their blood are more likely to suffer wheezing and asthma? This might make you think that it would be a good idea to take a vitamin E supplement during pregnancy - just in case.

"Premature babies tend to be deficient in antioxidants and suffer from oxygen stress, so we thought that they might benefit if their mothers received vitamins during pregnancy," says Professor Anne Greenough of King's College, London. "We also thought that giving mothers antioxidants might help improve lung growth and function in their babies."

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Can Milk Protect Against Asthma and Allergy?

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can milk protect against asthma Milk is a common trigger for asthma and eczema. Proteins in milk may act as true allergens, and milk can also create mucus which can make asthma symptoms worse. So it's intriguing to learn that one well-respected study has shown that drinking farm (raw) milk can have a protective effect against both asthma and hayfever. Dr Marco Waser of the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues in Europe and the USA studied a group of 15,000 children aged 5-13 from farming, rural and urban communities.

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Foetus Size Decreases Due To Air Pollution

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A recent 10-year study at the Queensland University of Technology showed that mothers exposed to higher levels of air pollution had foetuses that are on average significantly smaller in terms of femur length and abdominal as well as head circumference. Dr. Adrian Barnett (Senior Research Fellow at QUT) and Dr. Craig Hansen (US Environment Protection Agency) analysed 15,000 ultrasound scans of foetuses between 13-26 weeks duration.

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