We already live in a tropical country, and it's been getting hotter and hotter each year. If you haven't seriously taken steps to stop climate change, no matter how small they are, it might be time to do so now, especially if you're pregnant.
It's a known fact that preggos feel the heat more intensely than an ordinary person. A new study says a warmer climate is not suitable for pregnant women. Studies across the world showed that preggos exposed to hotter temperatures are more at risk for premature birth and stillbirth.
An international team of researchers analyzed the results of 70 studies set in 27 countries that link between high temperatures and preterm birth, stillbirth, and birth weight.
Of the 47 studies that tackled preterm births, 40 showed that preterm births were more common in hotter areas. The number of premature babies rose on average by about 5% for every 1°C increase in temperature.
Eight studies that analyzed stillbirths and warmer climates also reported an increase of 5% per 1°C rise in temperature and are most common in the last week or month of pregnancy.
Of the 28 studies that looked into birth weight and temperatures, 18 studies found low birth weight infants at higher temperatures. The effect may be minor but still significant for short and long-term consequences.
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As expected, pregnant women in more impoverished communities were most affected by the effects of warmer temperatures.
How the study findings can affect preggos now
Not much, really. But looking into the future, low birth weight, premature births, and stillbirths should be addressed now before they worsen.
The researchers "highlights the need to identify interventions targeting heat-related conditions in pregnant women, especially in women at the age extremes and in lower socioeconomic groups, and to determine their effectiveness."
Nearly 2 million stillbirths occur each year worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 15 million babies are born preterm each year. It's the leading cause of death among children under age 5. Almost 80% or a newborn who die yearly has low birth weight, less than 5.5 pounds.
The Philippines is one of the top 10 countries with the highest premature births. It goes without saying that preggos need better maternal care, which our country can still improve on.