Worrying about the health and wellbeing of the child growing in your womb is normal for expectant mothers like you, but is heightened if you are among the women currently working in the industrial setting. Concerns about fumes and chemicals are understandable, especially since doctors strongly encourage women to avoid exposure for the child’s health.
Most working mothers-to-be need not worry, but if you are exposed daily, learning more about it is necessary.
The Dangers of Fumes
Not all chemicals are harmful to both mother and child. In some cases, working with strong bases, acids or irritating chemicals will unlikely cause harm to the baby. But if you are in the welding industry, for example, exercising great caution is important.
Monoxivent, provider of source capture systems, lists down radiation, eye injuries (from intense lighting and hot slags), and toxic welding fumes (silicates, fluorides and oxides) as the top hazards faced by welders everywhere. A 2008 study published in Finland revealed that exposure to welding fumes and metal dusts during pregnancy increases your risk for reduced intrauterine growth and preterm deliveries.
The researchers identified nitrogen oxide, a compound found in welding fumes, as the culprit behind low birth weights and spontaneous abortions.
How Chemicals Reach your Baby
Chemicals enter the body through skin contact, food intake, or the air you breathe. Some of these (e.g. nitric acid, ammonia, chlorine, bleach, and fiberglass) are strong irritants, automatically reacting with the first tissue in contact—usually your nose, eyes, skin or throat. Others, however, can be easily absorbed into your bloodstream. You expose the child when these toxins pass through your bloodstream and reach the placenta.
Reducing your Exposure
Simple practices reduce your risk to hazardous chemical exposure. For example, it is important to store chemicals in sealed containers when not in use. Also, always wash your hands after contact with chemicals to remove harmful residue.
Improving ventilation is also one of the best ways to reduce fumes. Improving ventilation within your work area will dilute the chemicals and bring fresh air inside. If your workplace ventilation is not effective, opening doors and windows may help.
Ensuring the health of mother and child will always depend on how well you care for yourself, especially while at work. Be mindful with sanitary practices and always see your doctor for a safe pregnancy.