Wildfire Smoke and Pregnancy

Key points

  • Pregnancy is a time to take extra care to protect yourself against wildfire smoke.
Pregnant woman in her home and smiling at the camera.

Prepare for 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."
  • Stay inside as much as possible. Keep windows and doors closed and turn on an HVAC system with a filter or use a portable air filter if available.
  • Check the HeatRisk dashboard to see if you may benefit from taking steps to stay safe if it is hot outside.
  • If your HeatRisk level is orange or above and you don't have access to air conditioning, you can call 2-1-1 or contact your local health department to find cooling centers in your area.
  • 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.
  • 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. Try to avoid direct contact with ash. Wash ash off your skin or mouth and rinse it out of your eyes as soon as you can.