Today’s expecting mother has a lot to take in. Information on diet, the environment, and healthy child development is always changing. There’s always a new trend or fad to consider, above and beyond the advice of doctors and obstetricians.
The reality is, some of this information is useful and some isn’t. It’s true that scientific and medical understanding has progressed. It’s true that we know more about how to keep mothers and babies healthy during pregnancy. It’s also true that many people just want to sell you something, be it a service or a product, by appealing to your motherly instincts.
Toxic mold exposure is one of those things that every mother should investigate and consider for herself. How likely is it that toxic mold is growing somewhere in my home? What are the health risks of exposure to different types of mold, and are there specific risks to unborn children who are exposed to mold spores through the mother’s respiratory system?
Let’s start with general health risks. Toxic mold has been identified as a serious health risk by the Center for Disease Control, the FDA, and even the World Health Organization. The health risks depend on the type of mold and the intensity of exposure, but generally speaking, they include a variety of respiratory ailments, skin irritations, dizziness, lack of focus, and neurological disorders in rare cases.
In other words, the consensus among the world’s scientific and medical communities is that mold is bad for you.
So what about pregnancy?
The good news is, there are no established links between mold exposure and fetal development. However, this is a very difficult thing to study and understand without actually exposing developing fetuses to mold—something no mother, doctor or research facility is willing to do.
There are studies suggesting that mold leads to developmental issues in animals, but humans may react differently to the same types of exposure.
We can say for certain that a healthy mother is more likely to give birth to a healthy baby, and exposure to harmful mold spores certainly cannot be good for developing fetuses. Babies are generally very strong and resilient as they develop, and all mothers are exposed to one toxin or another during pregnancy. But the parameters of child development, and the exact causes of many development problems, are not well understood.
For these reasons, it’s best to take mold exposure seriously. You may not be able to control what your’e exposed to out in the world, but you can take steps to make sure your home environment has clean air that is free from toxic levels of mold.
What can I do about it?
Mold testing is a widely available and generally affordable service. Using special instruments, including infrared cameras and scientific lab testing, experts will perform a detailed analysis of the air on your home, testing for all kinds of mold spores. If a problem is detected, options for mold remediation will be laid out for you.
It’s certainly possible to be overly worried about the developmental health of your unborn child, but when it comes to the air you (and your baby) breath, there’s no reason to take chances!