The Fourth of July is a time of fireworks, family fun, and cookouts. When you’re pregnant or have a small child, you instantly think about someone else before thinking about yourself. Your days of flying off the handle and doing whatever you like at a moment’s notice without regard for safety are long gone — but you’ll be happy to know you don’t have to make huge changes to your July 4th celebration if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Pregnant women and new mothers worry equally about the impact of those loud firework booms on new ears. However, pregnant women don’t have to worry about it. Fetal ears are not developed until about the 30th week of gestation. If you are past the 30-week mark, your body provides quite the muffle for loud noises. You may notice the baby moving more with the fireworks, but there are no known negative side effects on pregnancy associated with fireworks.
New ears are a bit more sensitive to fireworks booms. If you have a baby or small child you may want to invest in earplugs if you are close to the fireworks display. You can also choose to sit inside a vehicle with your infant or small child to muffle the sounds. Generally, if the noise is loud to you, it is too loud for younger ears.
As the night progresses, objects disappear into the dark night and traversing a new place may be a bit more difficult. Pregnant women should only walk in well-lit areas and never in high heels or other high shoes that could impair balance. Hold the hand of someone nearby if possible. Small children should be watched closely at night. All it takes is a few steps beyond your vision and your child can literally disappear from sight.
Pregnant women, infants, and small children should all be protected from insect bites late at night. Talk to your pediatrician before spraying newborn skin with insect repellant. Deet-based repellants should never be used on infants or small children.
Assuming you are attending a professional fireworks display, the lights from the fireworks display are typically too far away to bother an infant and they are just bright enough to hold the attention of a young child. However, if your neighbors are doing fireworks, you should keep your baby/child away from that as the noise is much too loud and your child's safety is not guaranteed when close to amateur firework displays.
The 4th of July should be a time of fun and celebration — not worry about pregnancy safety and the safety of your newborn. Common sense choices are often the best — so if you second guess the safety of an activity, it is best to skip it or alter it to make it feel safer.
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