Inhaled Car Fumes During Pregnancy

Patient

Q: I had a major "duh" moment yesterday in the hustle-and-bustle of getting out the door in the morning...I started the car in our one-car garage with the door closed. As soon as I shifted to reverse I realized what I'd done and jumped out to open the door. In the meantime I got two or three good whifs and it was stinky. I had no symptoms at all. My whole exposure was probably 10-15 seconds with a couple of shallow breaths. I was 4 weeks two days, and so now I'm worried :(

Doctor

A:   Fumes from cars and carbon monoxide poisoning can be a concern during pregnancy. Too much exposure for an extended period may be harmful to a developing fetus, but I wouldn't worry about breathing in smoky fumes for a few seconds. If you really want to reassure yourself, you could ask your doctor to check for your carboxyhemoglobin levels.

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