Image: NY Times
Pregnancy blog, 20/01/20
With the bushfire crisis affecting many families in Australia, health experts are warning people across the country about the possible dangers of smoke exposure.
Pregnant people may feel the effects of smoke more than others because of the physical and hormonal changes to their body. Therefore, they should take extra care to look after themselves and reduce their exposure.
What are the risks of exposure to bushfire smoke during pregnancy?
Smoke exposure in pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of:
5 ways to minimise risk of smoke exposure
Although these risks may be alarming, experts in Australia suggest the following to reduce them:
- Limit time spent outside, especially on days where smoke is visible.
- Shut windows and doors at home and when in the car.
- Set air conditioning units to ‘re-circulate’ (at home and in the car), rather than drawing in outside air.
- Avoid air pollution at home, including candles and cigarette smoke.
- Use a well-fitted 'P2' face mask when outdoors.
Using a face mask
If fitted correctly, with an air-tight seal around the nose and mouth, P2 masks can filter out very fine, potentially harmful, particles from the air.
It might be a good idea to use an air purifier at home. It must have a high efficiency particle air filter (HEPA filter) and be the right size for your room, which should have well-sealed doors and windows.
Risk of premature birth
What are the signs of early labour?
Before 37 weeks, you might be going into premature labour if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pressure in your pelvis
- Frequent need to urinate
- Period-like cramps
- Pain in your back
- Increase in vaginal discharge, a trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina.
Advice from a Tommy’s midwife
Our thoughts are with the families affected by the Australian bushfires and we urge pregnant women to take special care of themselves, listen to their bodies and speak to their healthcare team if they think something’s wrong.
It might not be exactly how you pictured it, bringing your baby home with social distancing measures in place. But it's important to do whatever you feel like when it comes to marking the first few weeks and staying connected with the people you love. Here are some ideas, but please be kind to yourself and don't expect too much.
Your tummy will deflate and the swelling will ease, and whilst your body may not be the way it once was, it will always be your baby's first home. There's something beautiful about that, and that is something beautiful about YOU.
Things I wish I had known when I was pregnant about...unwanted advice. People generally mean well, but at the end of the day, you and your partner (if you have one) are the only ones who get to decide how to raise your baby.
Macrolide antibiotics (including erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin) are used to treat common bacterial infections and are considered alternatives for patients with penicillin allergy.