A new study claims climate change may increase women's chances of giving birth early. Warming temperatures (when temperatures are higher than 32.2 degrees Celsius) can increase birth rates by 5 per cent.
Researchers speculate in 20 years times close to 25,000 infants will be born earlier than expected every year in the United States (US) alone. Those numbers could be higher when taking the entire world into account. That could be hundreds of thousands of gestational days lost. Some babies could even be born two weeks before the due date. Multiple studies have found higher temperatures could also put pregnant women at risk of many health issues like preeclampsia and hypertension. Previous research has also found babies that are born early may develop asthma. It could even cause developmental delays.
Researchers have yet to understand the reason for the connection between soaring temperatures and early births. The study's findings were originally published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
One study, published in the journal Environment International, also found the risk of premature birth is high for women who are stressed and exposed to plastic additives late in their pregnancy. "Both, exposure to phthalates and high levels of stress have been individually linked to births before 37 weeks gestation, but how these two risk factors may influence each other had not been previously explored," study co-author Emily Barrett, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Public Health and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, told a news portal. Adding, "Our research suggests that the third trimester is the critical window for these risks."
Another study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found pregnant women who move house in the first trimester could also give birth to their babies early. While researchers note the study did have its limitations, it did yield fascinating insight into the connection.
"Regardless of whether the negative impact of moving is driven by the stress from the move itself, stressful situations leading to a move, or disruption of care because of the move, asking patients about plans to move and using that as an opportunity to counsel patients on stress-mitigating techniques and care continuity may be beneficial," authors of the study stated.
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