Wildfire Smoke and Pregnancy

Pregnant women need to take extra care to protect themselves against wildfire smoke.

  • Before wildfire season:
    • Talk to your healthcare provider. Plan how you will protect yourself against wildfire smoke.  Make sure you know the signs of labor and pre-term labor, and where you will get prenatal care or deliver your baby if your doctor’s office or hospital is closed.
    • 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 clothing for both the mother and baby.
    • 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 pre-term 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 ashpdf iconexternal 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 23, 2019