Doctors in Utah say state’s poor air quality poses risks for pregnant women

Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 19:49:37-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The poor air quality isn't just bad for those with asthma or heart conditions, but also expecting mothers.

The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment said normal fetal growth and development is sensitive to environmental changes, especially ones with toxins in the air.

The list of complications can be deadly when a pregnant woman inhales the air contaminates, for example: High blood pressure, miscarriages, still births, premature births, premature rupture of membranes, hypertension, poor brain development and birth defects.

Pregnant moms told FOX 13 News they are constantly concerned when the inversion starts to appear.

Erica Putnam is a birthing assistant at Utah Birth Center in the Salt Lake valley. She is aware of the increased complications when there is an inversion and someone is expecting. She is 13 weeks pregnant with her second child.

"I am terrified to go outside because I am terrified I am going to lose my baby," Putnam said. "We have noticed here at the birth center the rise in miscarriages goes up in January and February, when the air is bad."

Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said he has seen the research that proves it, and it's a common conversation at LDS Hospital, where he works as an anesthesiologist.

"It wasn't too long ago that during one of our inversions I was working with an obstetrician, who without me even asking, said 'I've seen a ton of miscarriages during one of these inversions,'" Dr. Moench said.

The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment will be hosting an educational meeting about air quality and pregnancy Thursday, February 11 at the Salt Lake City Main Library, located at 200 East 400 South, at 7:00pm. The meeting will be held on the 4th Floor in Conference Room No. 4.

Another meeting is set for February 16 at BYU Education in Zion Theatre Room B192 at the Joseph Fielding Smith Building in Provo.