Advice for pregnant women around smoke haze
The continuing smoke haze across Victoria is concerning for everyone, particularly pregnant women.
It is important during this period of exposure to:
- Minimise exposure to smoke haze
- Avoid exercise outside
- Remain indoors and utilise air conditioning when possible. Commercial air conditioners are better suited to filter fine particles so spending time in indoor venues like cinemas, libraries and shopping centres can be an effective way of avoiding exposure.
- Continue to use any prescribed respiratory medicines
- See your GP if you have any respiratory or general medical concerns
- Be alert to the signs of high blood pressure or premature labour:
- Regular contractions or significant abdominal pain before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Increased loss of vaginal fluid or vaginal bleeding
- Severe headache or visual changes
- Decreased fetal movements
If you are in any doubt consult your GP, obstetrician or midwife.
Short-term exposure can increase risk of respiratory difficulties. However, long-term exposure to bushfire smoke does increase the risk of pregnancy complications. The risk of high blood pressure, premature birth and low birthweight are all potentially increased, with the risk proportional to the degree and duration of exposure to bushfire smoke.
For information about air quality in the area where you live, visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Other useful links:
- RANZCOG ‘Statement on prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke and poor air quality’
- Chief Health Officer Victoria ‘Health concerns related to Victorian bushfires’
- Statement from the Acting Chief Medical Officer and State and Territory Chief Health Officers ‘Advice on the use of masks for those exposed to bushfire smoke’
- The Conversation ‘Pregnant women should take extra care to minimise their exposure to bushfire smoke'