If You Are Pregnant and Live Near a Wildfire, Here’s What You Need to Know©

A group of people that are standing in front of fire.

Has Mother Earth invoked a “scorched earth policy†in retaliation for environment abuse? It gives one a reason to pause.

 At present, there are seventy-seven raging fires across the U.S. that have destroyed 3.7 million acres of land.

If you live in Arizona (2), California (21), Colorado (3), Idaho (14), Montana (10), Nevada (2), Oregon (12), South Dakota (1), Utah (3), Washington (7), Wyoming (3), you are directly affected. The numbers behind each state represent the number of active fires occurring at the time of this writing.

The El Dorado fire in Yucaipa, California, began because of a gender-reveal party over the Labor Day weekend. Tragically, over 10,000 acres burned, claiming the lives of at least one firefighter, and injuring several more.


Do these wildfires affect an unborn baby and its mother? The answer is a resounding yes, in the same manner as cigarette smoke. There are toxins in the air called PM2.5 that adversely affect our lungs and heart. Pregnant women exposed to PM2.5 and other toxins associated with wildfires are at risk for

  • Small babies
  • Growth restricted babies
  • Preterm labor
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Preeclampsia


Here are action steps a pregnant woman should take if exposed to wildfires:

  • Request an ultrasound to document the proper size and weight of your unborn baby
  • Ask your OB provider about your fundal height to document appropriate growth
  • Be vigilant regarding monitoring the fetal movement per your OB provider’s recommendation, and do not hesitate to contact them if you are not comfortable with the level of activity or movement

Perhaps we need to bring Smokey the Bear out of retirement, but until then, please be safe and share this post to help pregnant mothers do the same.

Copyright © 2010 by Linda Burke, MD

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author.




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