Climate change-related extreme heat may adversely affect pregnancy

New research has claimed that pregnant women are an important but largely overlooked group vulnerable to the effects of climate change-related extreme heat.

The study was conducted by Dr Sabrina McCormick, of the Milken Institute School of Public Health (MPH) at George Washington University, US. She has been studying the impacts of climate change on human health, and has served as the lead author on the Special Assessment of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr McCormick explained that pregnant women’s “unique vulnerability to heat stress should be factored into public health policy”.

She said: “Exposure to extreme heat can harm both pregnant mothers and their babies, especially in situations where the expectant mother has limited access to prenatal care.”

Dr McCormick and MPH alumna Leeann Kuehn identified a number of studies providing evidence that exposure to temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress.

According to Dr McCormick, further research is needed on the ways that climate change, and heat in particular, affect maternal health and neonatal outcomes.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801838753-ADNFCR