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Statement on prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke and poor air quality

07 January 2020

The peak body for obstetrics and gynaecology and women’s health in Australia and New Zealand notes and supports the advice of the Acting Chief Medical Officer and State and Territory Chief Medical Officers, reiterating that prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke and poor air quality can have adverse pregnancy outcomes.
 
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) President Dr Vijay Roach said: “Exposure to air pollution in pregnancy has been linked to increased rates of preterm birth, decreased birth weight, hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and gestational diabetes.
 
“We would reiterate that these risks are increased when there has been exposure over a long time period.
 
“As our cities and communities are enveloped in smoke as a result of the current bushfires, we would encourage pregnant women to heed advice from authorities, take precautions, limit outdoor activities and try to spend more time indoors. For those unable to avoid prolonged exposure to inhaled air pollution, masks may have a role.”
 
Background
 
In November 2019, RANZCOG called on governments to urgently address the causes and impacts of climate change, stating it agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s position that human activity is a significant contributor to global warming and consequent environmental impact. Read the statement.

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