June 18, 2024
Preterm Birth

New Study Warns of Increased Risk of Premature Births Amidst Extended Heat Waves

A recent large-scale study, published on May 24, 2019, in JAMA Network Open, reveals a significant association between extended periods of abnormally high temperatures and the occurrence of preterm and early-term births.

The research, led by scientists from Emory University, University of Nevada Reno, Yale University, University of Utah, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, analyzed birth records from over 53 million infants born in the 50 most populous metropolitan areas of the United States between 1993 and 2017.

The study’s findings indicate that the rates of preterm (less than 37 weeks) and early-term (less than 39 weeks) Preterm Birth increased when local temperatures exceeded normal levels for more than four consecutive days.

Preterm and early-term births are major contributors to infant mortality and long-term health concerns, including respiratory, cognitive, and behavioral issues. Even a slight rise in the number of cases can result in substantial public health consequences.

With the prediction of a warm summer this year and the ongoing impact of climate change, the study’s senior author, Howard Chang, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, emphasizes the potential for adverse effects on newborns.

“Our study demonstrates that the increase in temperature could lead to unfavorable outcomes for newborns,” Chang said. “Infants born prematurely may face various health complications and require additional healthcare resources.”

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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