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Climate Change And Pregnant Women




Pregnant and postpartum women and their infants are uniquely vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change, due to the many physiologic and social changes that occur as a result of pregnancy. Climate-related exposures may lead to adverse pregnancy and newborn health outcomes, including spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, preterm birth, increased neonatal death, dehydration and associated renal failure, malnutrition, diarrhea, and respiratory disease.

HEAT-RELATED IMPACT

Pregnant women are vulnerable to temperature extremes and are especially susceptible to dehydration, which releases labor-inducing hormones. Newborns are especially sensitive to ambient temperature extremes because their capacity for regulating body temperature is limi-ted.

Extreme heat events are also associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth, low birth weight and infant mortality.

DID YOU KNOW?

Pregnant women are vulnerable to temperature extremes and are especially susceptible to dehydration, which releases labor-inducing hormones.

DROUGHT AND FLOOD RISKS

Drought endangers pregnant women’s access to safe and reliable water sources for drinking and sanitation, increasing their vulnerability to dehydration (leading to pre-term labor) and infectious agents.

Pregnant women and newborns are uniquely vulnerable to flood health hazards. Flood exposure was associated with adverse birth outcomes (preterm birth, low birth weight) after Hurricane Katrina and the 1997 floods in North Dakota.

Floods also place pregnant women at increased risk of exposure to environmental toxins and mold, reduced access to safe food and water, psychological stress and disrupted health care. Other flood-related include maternal risk of anemia, eclampsia and spontaneous abortion.

FAST FACT

Extreme heat exposure can lead to dehydration and renal failure in pregnant women. Dehydration in early pregnancy can affect the fetal growth, while dehydration in late pregnancy can cause pre-term birth.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Pregnancy-related changes to immune function could also place pregnant women at increased risk for waterborne disease, especially gastrointestinal illness, as a result of flooding. Pregnant women who develop severe gastrointestinal illness are at high risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Women are especially vulnerable to vector-borne disease, including Lyme Disease, Dengue and Zika virus, which causes microcephaly in fetuses.

FAST FACT

Zika causes microcephaly, along with other infant health problems like hearing loss, delayed growth and eye defects.

EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS

Extreme heat exposure can lead to dehydration and renal failure in pregnant women. Dehydration in early pregnancy can affect the fetal growth, while dehydration in late pregnancy can cause pre-term birth.

DID YOU KNOW?

Floods place pregnant women at increased risk of exposure to environmental toxins and mold, reduced access to safe food and water, psychological stress, and disrupted health care.

AIR QUALITY

Pregnant women are more sensitive to the harmful health effects of wildfire smoke and exposure of pregnant women to inhaled particulate matter is associated with negative birth outcomes.

Exposure to air pollutants and groundlevel ozone can cause respiratory illness in pregnant women and lead to low birthweight or pre-term babies.

FAST FACT

Check your Air Quality Index at the following sites: http://apims.doe.gov.my/ http://aqicn.org/map/malaysia/

FOOD SECURITY

Nutrition is essential to healthy pregnancy, nursing and newborn outcomes. Pregnant women are therefore particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts to food safety, access and nutritional value. Poor nutrition is related to delivery problems, low birth weight, and even newborn death.

The PHYSICIAN ROLE IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND PREGNANCY HEALTH

Talk to your doctor about climate-related health risks, and ask them on how to minimize risks:

  • Closely monitor with your doctor during periods of extreme heat: assess their access to clean drinking water, shade or cooling centers, air conditioning, and social supports.
  • Ask your doctor to counter check the Air Quality Index (AQI) for unsafe ozone and particulate levels during hot days and in event of wildfires. Even if you live far from wildfire sites, smoke plumes can travel thousands of miles so they should monitor air quality closely.
  • Ask your doctor’s assistance to create an emergency response plan incase of need to evacuate, for example in event of flood, wildfire, extreme weather or other emergent climate threat. For more information and guidance.
  • Ask your doctor on the risks of illness from food, water and vector-borne pathogens and to take appropriate precautions against illness.


The content was originally published at Stemlife Regen Magazine on July-September 2017.
Source: http://climatehealthconnect.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/PregnantWomen.pdf

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