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Extreme heat linked to climate change not good for moms-to-be

Washington: Moms-to-be, you may want to protect yourself from the high temperatures as according to a recent study, extreme heat linked to climate change may adversely affect pregnancy.

“Expecting mothers are an important group whose unique vulnerability to heat stress should be factored into public health policy,” said George Washington University’s Sabrina McCormick. “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.”

McCormick and researcher Leeann Kuehn conducted the most extensive systematic review to date of research articles that identify how heat-related exposures result in adverse health effects for pregnant women. They followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guide to identify and systematically review articles from PubMed and Cochrane Reviews on climate change-related exposures and adverse health effects for pregnant women.

The studies that McCormick and Kuehn identified provide evidence that exposure to temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress during unusually hot temperatures.

“Our study indicates that there is a need for further research on the ways that climate change, and heat in particular, affect maternal health and neonatal outcomes,” McCormick said. “The research also shows that uniform standards for assessing the effects of heat on maternal fetal health need to be established.”

The study is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (ANI)