Some doctors now recommend that women who are expecting not only think about the food they eat but the air they breathe.

While Chattanooga is no longer an area with chronic pollution problems, studies from some U.S. cities show possible links between bad air quality and pregnancy complications. Dr. Christopher Innes is an OB-GYN in The Scenic City and for the most part agrees with the findings and what bad air can potentially do.

"Small babies being born, early delivery, and sometimes even hypertension in moms which could necessitate early delivery," says Innes.

Babies being born with asthma, too.

Innes says expecting moms who already have breathing problems are, of course, most vulnerable to poor air quality and should be the most cautious.

"So it's very important for those women to have their disease states be controlled to help reduce the risks to the fetus and themselves," explains Innes.

But soon-to-be moms who don't have pre-existing conditions should also be extra careful. To prevent possible complications, Dr. Innes says all expecting moms should check daily air quality reports and limit your time outdoors when pollutants are at high levels.

"It's impossible not to go outside, not to go to work, not to go to school, not to go to the store. But just limit it on those days," urges Innes.

And don't forget that air is everywhere. So keep it as clean as can be at home where you probably spend most of your time.

"Little portable air purifiers may help," suggests Innes. "Change your air filters in your home frequently."

Do anything to reduce the risks.

On bad air quality days Innes would normally focus on expecting moms with existing pulmonary conditions but may now expand that focus.

A University of Tennessee study of the affects of heavy metals in our water supply is ongoing, but Innes hopes too soon see a thorough study done of southeast Tennessee
as it relates to pregnancy problems.

To check air quality reports visit the Air Pollution Control Bureau by clicking