The story of California wildfires raging on in the state is nothing new- both to those affected by them, and those who learn about them on the news. But for those in the former category, the lasting effects of going through such a traumatic event can easily last for a long time to come. Some are more likely to heal (i.e. burns), but others may remain for years, if not a lifetime.
But what about pregnant women and newborns who've been exposed to wildfires? The emotional and mental toll would surely negatively affect a mother, and- depending on its age- their baby, too. Yet one thing people aren't so sure about is the physical consequences that come from having to go through a wildfire. After all, there's no way anyone can totally walk away from a fire unscathed.
That's exactly what went through the minds of researchers from UC Davis. They're now looking into doing multiple studies to examine the health effects of wildfires on moms and their newborn babies. With wildfires on the rise in recent years- including 2019- such studies would be vital for those who live in areas where they frequently occur.
"We've heard from a lot participants on breathing issues and the stress of being around the wildfire smoke. And that stress could affect them while pregnant," research assistant Camille Burlaza explained.
Multiple researchers are collecting bio-specimen samples and filling out surveys for these studies. As of right now, no problems have been reported during these studies. But of course, that could easily change in the future.
There are currently about 345 participants already signed up for Be Safe, which started back in 2017 by UC David. It was created in response to the Napa/Sonoma wildfires of that year and then expanded later on in the aftermath of both the Camp Fire and Carr Fire. More women continue to be recruited, and the university is hoping to finalize the study by the second anniversary of the Camp Fire.