Studies seek to uncover long-term effects of wildfire smoke on babies, pregnant mothers
By Charmaine Nero for KXTL TV on November 6, 2019
"Aside from the joy that comes with being a new mom, it’s a constant battle of the unknown for both mothers now wondering how the smoke and stress from the Camp Fire will impact their children.
'That is something we hope to be able to look at and not only for women and babies in our study but California-wide,' said Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, a University of California, Davis associate professor in the divisions of Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health.
Schmidt is part of a group at UC Davis studying the effects of wildfires on pregnant women and their unborn children.
They started the study in 2017 after the destructive and deadly fires in Sonoma and Napa.
'Some of the first things we did look at were the symptoms in both the moms and their other children. And for the moms, the top response for symptoms was stress and anxiety,' Schmidt said.
So far, Schmidt has surveyed hundreds of women who breathed in heavy smoke from recent wildfires. They are taking samples from hair, saliva and umbilical cord blood.
The goal is to find out what chemicals these women and their unborn children were exposed to and what long-term effects they could have."