Black Mold Exposure During Pregnancy: Can It Harm Baby?

Black mold is not something to mess with. But good news: Chances are it's not going to mess with an unborn fetus.

Pregnant Woman Looking Out the Window Holding Belly
Photo: Emituu/Shutterstock

Finding black mold can be concerning—especially if you have a baby on the way. But there are no known studies relating the effects of mold on human pregnancy. Studies have shown the substances molds produce may have a link to birth defects in animals, though they may not have the same effect on humans because test animals are exposed in ways that are very different to the ways humans are exposed.

What that means is: nobody in their right mind is going to test toxic substances on a pregnant lady and pregnant ladies are unlikely to be exposed to enough mold-toxins to do any damage during normal interactions. Their recommendation is to remove the mold ASAP—but you should try to stay out of the mold removal operations. It's unlikely to do you or your baby any harm but still, black mold is gross and scary.

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Now, let's talk about how resilient and tough those little fetuses are. Think about the huge number of babies conceived after a few too many double margaritas and a pack of Camels. Think about how much junk a woman can consume in those first few weeks (months?) before she has a clue she's pregnant. You hear about women (and I've met a few) who never knew they were pregnant until a stomachache brought them to the emergency room in labor. They probably weren't following the best medical advice to avoid consuming anything during pregnancy not grown in an organic monastery.

How about babies in third-world countries whose mothers have little to eat, no clean place to live and polluted air and water? For the most part, these babies are fine. I'm in the unfortunate position of seeing drug and alcohol exposed babies in the first few days of life. These are tough little guys who, for the most part, seem OK. Of course, we don't know what the rest of their lives will be like, but at least physically, they look pretty good.

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Cells divide so fast in the first fragile weeks of pregnancy it's amazing they don't all go haywire when we inhale a lung-full of bus-exhaust. Most of the time, however, regardless of what we mothers do, they divide, multiply and turn into vital organs, then beautiful babies, just like they're supposed to.

The statistics tell us that 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most of those before we know we're pregnant. Sure, that's a daunting number but that means that 80% go full term and most of those result in lovely children. Of those 80%, you can bet that not every mother is drinking only purified spring water out of sterilized chalices while munching carrot sticks grown by virgin farmers. A lot of those mothers are eating Twinkies and drinking Red Bull and still have lovely children.

This is not, by any means, a license to eat, drink, inhale, or in any way partake in junk. Just the opposite, really. We, as parents, have a huge obligation to take the very best care of our children and ourselves possible. Nutrition and the environment our children grow up in have a huge impact on their development, intellect, and well-being. These babies will be the generation that rules the world in not too many years. Let's treat them really, really, well in hopes they'll be healthy, happy, and well adapted, with parents who feel the same. Be reassured though, that even when exposed to less than perfect elements (like black mold), they usually turn out just fine.

So what's the take-home message, here? Get away from the mold, eat and drink carefully, exercise, get good medical care and hope for the best. You have an excellent chance of having a healthy full-term baby and 100% chance of having the best little baby on the planet.

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