Moms-to-be, take note! Exposure to extreme heat linked to climate change may harm both pregnant mothers and their babies, a study has warned.
Researchers found that temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in the length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress during unusually hot temperatures.
"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", said Sabrina McCormick, associate professor at the George Washington University in the US.
The researchers conducted the most extensive systematic review to date of study articles that identify how heat-related exposures result in adverse health effects for pregnant women.
The studies they identified provide evidence that extreme heat can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, still birth, and neonatal stress.
"Pregnant women are an important but thus far largely overlooked group vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat linked to climate change", said McCormick.
"Expecting mothers are an important group whose unique vulnerability to heat stress should be factored into public health policy", he said.
The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.