Wildfire Smoke and Pregnancy
Pregnant women need to take extra care to protect themselves against wildfire smoke.
- Before wildfire season:
- Plan how you will protect yourself against wildfire smoke. Talk to your healthcare provider about where you will get prenatal care or deliver your baby if your doctor’s office or hospital is closed. Make sure you know the signs of labor and early labor.
- Stock up on medicine. Store a 7 to 10-day supply of prescription medicines and prenatal vitamins in a waterproof, childproof container to take with you if you evacuate.
- Keep a packed bag on hand with essential items and supplies for both the mother and baby, including clothing, and copies of your medical records and insurance information.
- Buy groceries you won’t need to cook. Frying or grilling especially can make indoor air pollution worse.
- During a wildfire smoke event:
- Pay attention to air quality reportsexternal icon. Follow instructions about exercise and going outside for “sensitive individuals.”
- Follow your healthcare provider’s advice. Continue with your pre-natal care. Update your delivery plan if you need to evacuate.
- Know the signs of labor and early labor. If you have the signs, call your healthcare provider or 9-1-1, or go to the hospital right away if it is safe to travel.
- Think about evacuating if you have trouble breathing or other symptoms that do not get better.
- If you go to a shelter, make sure officials know that you are pregnant.
- After a wildfire:
- Do not return home until you are told it is safe to do so.
- Smoke can stay in the air inside buildings and outdoors for days after wildfires have ended so continue to check local air quality.
- Protect yourself from ashexternal icon. Avoid direct contact with ash and wash it off your skin or mouth and rinse it out of your eyes as soon as you can.
Page last reviewed: May 4, 2021
Content source: National Center for Environmental Health