Patient: I’m 30 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I live with my sister-in-law whose house has no heat. It’s a smaller, older house. We have a bunch of small, electric heaters plugged in, but they don’t quite do the trick so she bought a kerosene heater. She has it set up in the living room, which opens into the kitchen, but there is a comforter hanging in the doorway to keep heat in the living room. Last night was her first night using it and the fumes really got to me, even with my door shut. My question is, is it safe for me to stay there when she runs the kerosene heater or will it harm my baby? I worry about whether or not the room the heater is in would be considered “well ventilated” or not and I worry about the fumes because I haven’t ever been around a kerosene heater before.
Doctor: Hello,Thanks for the query to ATD.As you are 30 weeks pregnant already and already in the third trimester, the prim ary concern presently after exposure to kerosene fumes is release of carbon mono-oxide from the kerosene burner. Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas that can be harmful for your unborn baby causing intra uterine growth restriction or may cause decreased oxygen supply to the metal tissues due to formation of carboy-hemoglobin which is a scavenger for oxygen. In cases of severe exposure, it can lead to fetal death. Carbon monoxide results from burning wood, charcoal, gas or kerosene.So, any form of kerosene burner fume exposure should be avoided and if there is a possibility of isolating yourself from the room during the burning of kerosene heater , or you may speak to your sister in law for adopting an alternative means.I hope i have answered your query in detail,wishing you good health,regards