PBDEs might cause lower IQs in children

From the moment you confirm your pregnancy, you're likely going to do everything in your power to ensure healthy baby development. However, there are constantly new hazards to be mindful of while expecting, some of which may cause harm to your child after birth.

A recent study uncovered at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting showed that polybrominated diphenyl ethers might cause children to have lower IQs if they're exposed to them while in the womb.

"In animal studies, PBDEs can disrupt thyroid hormone and cause hyperactivity and learning problems," said lead author Aimin Chen, M.D., assistant professor in the department of environmental health at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "Our study adds to several other human studies to highlight the need to reduce exposure to PBDEs in pregnant women."

Flame retardants used on everything from baby strollers to electronics might also be responsible for causing hyperactivity in young children. These days, PBDEs are not generally used in the manufacturing of goods in the U.S. However, many products still exist from when they were created with the harmful chemicals.

"Because PBDEs exist in the home and office environment as they are contained in old furniture, carpet pads, foams and electronics, the study raises further concern about their toxicity in developing children," Chen continued.

Pregnancy and environmental hazards
There are numerous chemicals in your environment that can pose a threat to fetal development during your pregnancy. While it's impossible to avoid everything that may be a hazard, there are a few ways you can reduce your baby's risk of complications. For instance, the most obvious one is to avoid areas where people are using cigarettes, which can expose you to secondhand smoke.

Mother Earth News claims that you should also try to avoid bisphenol-A, which mimics estrogen in the body. BPA has been linked to depressive behavior in small children, giving women a good reason to stay away from it in plastic bottles while pregnant.

If you want to know more information about what you can do to protect your unborn child, speak to your primary care physician. A medical expert can give you additional insight into what you can do to make sure that you give birth to a happy, healthy baby.

How have you avoided environmental hazards while pregnant in the past? Do you know which items should be avoided while you're expecting? Leave your feedback in the comments section!