Wildfire Smoke and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time to take extra care to protect yourself 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 reports. 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.
    • Stay inside as much as possible. Keep windows and doors closed and turn on an HVAC system or use a portable air filtration unit.
    • If your area is experiencing extreme heat, contact your local health department to find public access air-conditioned centers or cooling centers in your area.
    • If you must go outdoors during a Wildfire Smoke event, wear a  NIOSH Approved N95 respirator.
  • 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 ash [PDF – 835 KB]. 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.