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November 28, 2022


November 30, 2022

Asbestos Exposure During Perinatal Year: All You Need to Know

As an expecting mother, monitoring your pregnancy, especially your baby's health, is crucial. But, some elements in your environment, like your house, can dramatically affect your health. Toxic materials like asbestos may lurk in the corners of your home, which can cause severe illnesses to you and your unborn baby.

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As an expecting mother, monitoring your pregnancy, especially your baby's health, is crucial. But, some elements in your environment, like your house, can dramatically affect your health. Toxic materials like asbestos may lurk in the corners of your home, which can cause severe illnesses to you and your unborn baby.

This article will explain the risks you and your baby may experience if exposed to asbestos. It will also point out the possible areas in your home that may have this compound and offer ways to prevent asbestos exposure in your home. Additionally, this article will provide added information about the diseases linked to asbestos.

The prenatal period is the entire development time of a baby. It’s divided into three stages: germinal, embryonic, and fetal. During these periods, proper care is essential for the baby's development. Pregnant mothers should be more careful in everything they do to avoid problems that may affect the baby’s development. One of the dangerous substances that a mother and her family can inadvertently be exposed to is asbestos. 

As your baby goes through the prenatal period of development, you should ask the following questions to make sure that your home remains free from harmful contaminants, specifically asbestos:

  • Is your baby at risk of asbestos exposure during its critical period of fetal development?
  • How can you get exposed to asbestos in your home?
  • How can you and your baby avoid exposure to this toxic material, and what diseases can result from the exposure? 

There are many ways people can get exposed to asbestos.¹ Remember that if one item on this list of possible sources of asbestos is present in your home, you should consult professionals that can help dispose of the toxic material. 

How Are Pregnant Mothers Exposed to Asbestos?

Through Inhalation

There are instances where people get exposed to asbestos through inhalation. Situations where this happens include the following:

  • Accidental exposure to asbestos because of natural weathering and landscaping of land with asbestos-laced rocks.
  • Accidental exposure to the compound because of home renovations, where materials containing asbestos, insulation, and pipe linings are disturbed. 

Through Ingestion

Though ingesting asbestos is rare, there’s still a chance that you can get exposed to this toxic substance from what goes into your body. You can accidentally ingest asbestos by:

  • Eating seafood like clams and other shellfish that has been exposed to the compound
  • Accidental ingestion of water laced with asbestos 

It’s worth noting that because of the regulations to prevent the use of asbestos, exposure to this material through contaminated water is now uncommon. 

Asbestos-Linked Diseases: Is My Baby at Risk?

Medical consensus about the baby’s risk of asbestos exposure during the prenatal period is inconclusive. But this doesn’t mean that pregnant mothers should disregard the risk of asbestos exposure and its effect on their unborn children. Concerns are rising that indirect exposure to the compound can affect the mother, which may trickle down to the child. 

Mothers may become exposed to asbestos and risk contracting severe mesothelioma. This type of disease can affect the nutrition intake of a baby during the prenatal period. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It’s a severe respiratory condition that targets the smooth linings that cover the lungs and other organs of the body. There are four mesothelioma stages, and knowing these phases can affect the positive outcome of treatments available to manage this aggressive illness.

Can Stem Cells Help in Treating Mesothelioma?

Stem cell research has advanced through the years. Today, studies focus on how stem cells can treat or even cure tumors and cancers like mesothelioma. Research focuses on using these cells to cause cell death in a tumor, which may destroy mesothelioma tumors. Though research is promising, the results still need to be conclusive. More studies are required to ensure the effectiveness of the stem cell approach in discovering the elusive cure for cancer. 

Tips to Prevent Asbestos Exposure

During the prenatal period, a mother should consider many things to ensure the safety and development of their unborn baby.  There are no safe levels of exposure. You can get sick from asbestos exposure no matter how much of the compound enters your body. 

To reduce and prevent asbestos exposure in your home during pregnancy, have your house checked for the presence of asbestos. You can get in touch with a professional who can do this safely.  The risk of asbestos exposure is higher if your home was built before the 80s and 90s when the use of the compound was still unregulated. Take caution when getting in contact with the following materials in your home:

  • Exterior fiber 
  • Cement cladding and weatherboards
  • Artificial brick cladding
  • Flexible building boards
  • Bathroom linings
  • Cement tile underlay
  • Corrugated cement roofing
  • Flue pipes
  • Architectural cement pipe columns
  • Textured paint
  • Vinyl floor tiles or coverings
  • The insulation used for hot water pipes
  • The insulation used in old house heaters
  • The insulation used in stoves
  • Ceiling insulation products

Understanding asbestos, its effect on the body, and how one can get accidentally exposed to the compound is essential to protect you and your loved ones, particularly your baby, from being harmed by this toxic material. You should always consult your doctor during this crucial period of fetal development and never forget to take care of your health and your bundle of joy. 


  1. How Are People Exposed to Asbestos? 
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Casey Bloom
Clinical Writer
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