Heatwave Increases Premature Birth And Poor Health In Newborns: Study

by | May 30, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Heatwave Increases Premature Birth And Poor Health In Newborns: Study


As per reports, heatwave increases premature birth recently. This has resulted in poorer health outcomes for newborns and potential long-term health issues, according to a recent study. The study highlights a troubling trend as climate change continues to drive extreme weather events. This has been impacting vulnerable populations the most.

The study reveals that Black and Hispanic mothers face a higher risk of preterm deliveries following heatwaves. Along with them, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are also at risk.

Heatwave increases pre mature birth

These groups often have less access to air conditioning and other means of mitigating heat exposure, increasing their vulnerability. Lyndsey Darrow, the study’s lead author and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Nevada, emphasizes the disparity.

She stated, “The findings suggest there are populations that are unable to avoid the heat and are experiencing much bigger effects.” This inequality in exposure and impact underscores the need for targeted interventions to protect the most at-risk groups.

Extreme heat events are becoming more common. Moreover, they are also lasting longer and increasing in severity due to the ongoing climate crisis. Last year, record-breaking temperatures were recorded, with July 2023 marking the hottest day globally for four consecutive days.

Pregnant individuals are particularly vulnerable to heat stress. This can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The CDC notes that these conditions can significantly affect unborn babies, potentially triggering premature labour.

Researchers analyzed 53 million births from 1993 to 2017 across 50 U.S. metropolitan areas. They found that after four consecutive days of high heat, the chance of premature births increased by 2%. The same of early-term births increased by 1%.

Darrow points out that the risk is higher for those “you might expect to have less access to air conditioning, and less ability to avoid the heat.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality. It is associated with various long-term health problems, including respiratory and neurodevelopmental issues. Heat can induce early labour through mechanisms such as the release of labour-inducing hormones, reduced blood flow, and dehydration.

The growing body of research indicates that targeted advice on managing heat stress is crucial for pregnant patients. Despite this, a 2022 study highlighted that current guidance on heat exposure for pregnant individuals remains sparse and inconsistent.

Nathaniel DeNicola is an OB-GYN specialist who authored a 2020 report on air pollution and preterm births. He advocated for more comprehensive counseling and educational materials.

There should be extra counseling in clinics and general materials about ways to protect from dehydration and heat stress during times of extreme heat, which is getting more and more common,” DeNicola advises.

As climate change continues to exacerbate extreme weather conditions, heatwave increases premature birth. It has become increasingly important to address the specific needs of vulnerable populations. Ensuring that pregnant individuals receive adequate guidance and support during heat waves can help mitigate the risks of preterm births. Moreover, it can improve health outcomes for both mothers and their babies.

Also Read: Heat Wave Related Climate Changes To Impact The US Economy Over Long Term


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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