Study Suggests Climate Change Increasing Pregnancy Issues in Minority Communities

June 26, 2020 by Jacob Pederson

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of low birth weights, premature births, and stillbirths in minority communities, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study’s authors said while they found detrimental impacts to to pregnancy among all populations, the negative outcomes were more pronounced in historically segregated cities force many Blacks and Hispanics to live in overheated and polluted neighborhoods.

As a result, the researchers say, these groups bear the brunt of a changing, warming climate and have more difficulties associated with pregnancies.

Before reaching their conclusion, the doctors analyzed 68 studies that looked at how high ozone levels, the prevalence of particulate matter and an increase in average daily temperatures in much of America, have impacted births.

Based on that analysis, the researchers concluded there is a strong connection between climate change and problematic pregnancies, with the onus falling on the minority community.

For example, the researchers found that for every degree Celsius of warming, there is a corresponding six percent increase in the risk of a stillbirth.

In an interview with The Well News, Dr. Bruce Bekkar, the lead author of the study, explained that because heat disrupts a woman’s blood flow, the rise in temperature prevents the fetus from getting the nutrition it needs to survive.

This is particularly problematic in cities, “where minority populations are typically clustered and living in close, confined urban heat islands,” Bekkar said.

Higher temperatures in such locations result in an 11.6% increase in premature births, the study found.

“This is because a woman’s body temperature runs warmer during pregnancy, and the added heat from climate change can cause dehydration which can cause contractions to start too early,” said Dr. Nate DeNicola, senior author of the study and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University. 

Compounding the situation are decades-old, discriminatory zoning laws, which allowed solid waste sites, landfills, hazardous waste facilities and heavy industry to be located near minority communities.

The study found the risk of low birth weight goes up by three percent for every three miles closer to a solid waste site a person lives.

The lower a child’s weight at birth, the greater the odds of death in infancy, and of developing cerebral palsy and other neurological issues, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The report found that mothers with asthma are 52% more likely to give birth prematurely in areas with high pollution. African American women are 20% more likely than White women to have asthma, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Climate change is intensifying the impacts of air pollution because of smoke from more fires and an increased amount of ground level ozone from the burning of fossil fuels and higher temperatures, said Bekkar.

“This is not a theoretical risk going forward and it’s not something happening somewhere else, it’s happening right now and here comes summer,” Bekkar said.

Science

FDA Issues Guidance on Development of a Safe and Effective COVID-19 Vaccine
Health
FDA Issues Guidance on Development of a Safe and Effective COVID-19 Vaccine
June 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a series of recommendations Tuesday that it say should help facilitate the timely development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The agency said the guidance reflects advice it has been providing over the "past several months"... Read More

Study Suggests Climate Change Increasing Pregnancy Issues in Minority Communities
Science
Study Suggests Climate Change Increasing Pregnancy Issues in Minority Communities
June 26, 2020
by Jacob Pederson

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of low birth weights, premature births, and stillbirths in minority communities, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study’s authors said while they found detrimental impacts to to pregnancy among all populations,... Read More

Senate Plans Legislation to Prepare for Next Pandemic Like COVID-19
Health
Senate Plans Legislation to Prepare for Next Pandemic Like COVID-19
June 23, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate tried Tuesday to respond to warnings from infectious disease experts that coronavirus is only an example of other pandemics that are coming soon. The World Health Organization has warned that a global population topping 7.8 billion plus global warming are creating... Read More

US Honeybees Are Doing Better After Bad Year, Survey Shows
Science
US Honeybees Are Doing Better After Bad Year, Survey Shows

American honeybee colonies have bounced back after a bad year, the annual beekeeping survey finds. Beekeepers only lost 22.2% of their colonies this past winter, from Oct. 1 to March 31, which is lower than the average of 28.6%, according to the Bee Informed Partnership’s annual survey of... Read More

Saharan Dust Plume Blankets Caribbean, Putting Hurricane Season On Pause
Science
Saharan Dust Plume Blankets Caribbean, Putting Hurricane Season On Pause
June 23, 2020
by Gaspard Le Dem

WASHINGTON –– A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert is slowly making its way from the west coast of Africa towards North and South America, creating drier-than-usual atmospheric conditions over the Atlantic Ocean. The cloud, which astronauts have spotted all the way from the... Read More

Malaria Drug Fails to Prevent COVID-19 in a Rigorous Study
Health
Malaria Drug Fails to Prevent COVID-19 in a Rigorous Study

A malaria drug President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease. Results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top