By now we all know that exposure to mold is never a good thing. Whether it’s the mold on an old piece of bread or a widespread colony of black mold in the basement, we should try to avoid being exposed. However, what if the exposure isn’t to ourselves, but rather a developing baby inside its mother’s belly? As science continues to study mold and learn more about it, we may uncover how mold affects a baby that is still in the womb.
Before going any further, and whether or not you are pregnant, if you have mold in your home it is important to remove it quickly. Mold can spread extremely rapidly and without proper removal, can cause severe damage to your home. If the mold is widespread, professional removal may be necessary.
Can Mold Cause A Miscarriage?
The type of mold we are most concerned with here is toxic mold. Most often, you hear of “black mold” as being toxic. This type of mold (though not all black colored molds are) belongs to the Stachybotrys species. It can have severe negative health effects like respiratory infections, paralysis, and even death.
Unfortunately, there is not a wide body of evidence on whether this type of toxic mold can harm a developing baby. Since experiments cannot be done where pregnant mothers are exposed to mold intentionally, the link between toxic mold and miscarriage is not clearly defined. However, it is known that bacteria and viruses can be passed from mother to baby via the umbilical cord. Any illness or infection that the mother suffers has the possibility to harm the baby either directly or indirectly. Therefore, pregnant mothers should avoid exposure to black mold or any form of mold to ensure that there is no chance of a mold-caused miscarriage.
Can Mold Give My Baby Asthma?
In short, yes. It is known that allergies can develop before a baby is even born. This can be due to the mother’s diet, exposure to pollutants, and yes, mold. Since asthma is similar to an allergic reaction, researchers are beginning to conclude that an unborn baby can develop asthma as a result of the mother being exposed to mold during pregnancy. Even if the baby doesn’t develop it before being born, he or she will have an increased risk for asthma if exposed to mold once born.
Possible Link Between Mold And Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
Sudden infant death syndrome is one of the most tragic and unexpected health problems a baby can experience. It is identified by the death of a baby less than 1 year old who is otherwise healthy. Researchers in New Zealand uncovered a link between mold growing in crib mattresses and SIDS. There are many chemicals added to infant mattresses as fire retardant and preservative. Since babies make liquids of all sorts, the mattress gets wet often. When mold grows and feeds on these chemicals, it releases deadly nerve gases which can quickly and suddenly kill a sleeping baby.
Although much of the evidence surrounding danger to unborn babies and mold exposure is limited, the danger is still very real. Parents should purposefully avoid places where mold is present and avoid being exposed to mold for any length of time. If you are pregnant or expecting to be, having a professional home inspection to check for mold and remove any that is found can be a potential lifesaver. In addition, it will give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to protect the newest member of your family.