Here in Canada, a warming climate may sound like a nice reprieve from those bone-chilling winters, but researchers now say this is no good news for expectant mommas – particularly for those living in developing countries nestled in the tropics.
The British Medical Journal reported that higher temperatures and heat waves during pregnancy are linked to the higher likelihood of premature and stillborn babies.
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The study found even small temperature increases “could have a major impact on public health as exposure to high temperatures is common and escalating.” When coupled with widespread poverty, this is even more concerning.
Already, about 15 million babies are born premature each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – the leading cause of death in children under five.
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The research out of the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa found that the odds of a preterm birth rose by five per cent on average for every one degree Celsius increase (and by 16 per cent during heatwave days).
Given that climate change has spurred on an average temperature increase by 1 C over the past century already, and that this trend is likely to continue, it’s all the more reason to continue prioritizing and deepening our understanding of the ways wider global issues and poverty directly impact women’s reproductive health, here and abroad.
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