Expert: Impact of forest fires in Western Canada on unborn children


Published: 4Aug2017

B.C. wildfire season worst in six decades, still far from over
“Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service said Thursday that 4,910 square kilometres of forest, bush and grassland have been torched, making 2017 the second worst in recorded history in terms of land destroyed. August is usually one of the busiest months for fire, so the situation could get worse, he added.”
Vancouver Sun

Suzanne King, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, and Principal Investigator at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre in Montreal

“Our research on pregnant women going through natural disasters suggests that their unborn children are very sensitive to the mothers’ experiences. The placenta tries to prepare the fetus for the environment the mother is experiencing. When the world after birth no longer resembles the world during the pregnancy, the baby can be ill-prepared: they could be at higher risk for obesity, attention problems, immune and behavioral problems. Ideally, pregnant women should be sheltered from disaster-related hardship (e.g., changes in living conditions), and should be helped to stay positive. Social support from partner and family can also protect the baby.”

Contact Information

Suzanne King
McGill University
suzanne.king [at]
Office Phone: 
514-761-6131, ext. 2353
Mobile Phone: 
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