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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speir

Wildfires and Pregnancy - Another reason for masks?

Last week was another crazy first for me in this year full of firsts! Like many of you, my family was evacuated on Monday due to the wildfires near Irvine. Luckily, we were able to go back to our home without any damage on Tuesday. Somehow I had always thought we were not in danger from the fires but this week really made them feel close. I am worried that this means we are going to deal with this on a yearly basis and that leads me to my next topic, which is the terrible air quality because of the fires.

So, as far as wildfires and pregnancy there are some legitimate concerns. Air pollution seems to increase the risk of hypertension in pregnancy, preterm labor and low birth weight infants and although much is unknown --minimizing risk is advised. Because of the increased risk of carbon monoxide, aromatic hydrocarbons, and other volatile compounds fetal demise and miscarriage may also increase. I would recommend staying indoors as much possible, stay in well ventilated areas, and wearing a mask outside when air quality is bad. Of course, air quality is not good for anyone with asthma or other lung disorders. To see what the air quality index is in your area check out this website:

Updates to the visitor policy at Hoag L&D:

- All patients will be allowed one visitor per day, but it should be the same person for the full day

-Other visitor policies will remain the same, I think we should really continue what we have been doing. Just one visitor per person and doula may be allowed. They should all wear a mask.

- The separate entrance for Labor and Delivery will be closed as of this weekend and all visitors must enter through the main entrance near the valet.

And - one interesting new study about Covid in Pregnancy from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology from this month studied placentas in New York patients with Covid-19 who tested positive, but may not have any symptoms. They found that although the newborns all tested negative for Covid-19, their placentas showed more evidence of more injured vessels in the placenta which could have resulted in less perfusion to the developing babies and also more inflammation in the blood vessels in the placenta.

I hope you are all safe and managing in this difficult time. We will get through this year together, stay positive and reach out if we can help.

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