Extreme heat linked to climate change may adversely affect pregnancy

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 8-Aug-2017

George Washington University

WASHINGTON, DC (Aug. 8, 2017) — Pregnant women are an important but thus far largely overlooked group vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat linked to climate change, according to new research by Sabrina McCormick, PhD, an Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

“Expecting mothers are an important group whose unique vulnerability to heat stress should be factored into public health policy,” says McCormick, who has been studying the impacts of climate change on human health for over a decade, and served as the lead author on the Special Assessment of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “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.”

McCormick and Leeann Kuehn, a recent GW MPH alumna concurrently studying to be a physician’s assistant, conducted the most extensive systematic review to date of research articles that identify how heat-related exposures result in adverse health effects for pregnant women. They followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guide to identify and systematically review articles from PubMed and Cochrane Reviews on climate change-related exposures and adverse health effects for pregnant women.

The studies that McCormick and Kuehn identified provide evidence that exposure to temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress during unusually hot temperatures.

“Our study indicates that there is a need for further research on the ways that climate change, and heat in particular, affect maternal health and neonatal outcomes,” McCormick says. “The research also shows that uniform standards for assessing the effects of heat on maternal fetal health need to be established.”

“Heat Exposure and Maternal Health in the Face of Climate Change” is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University: Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, and an online Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics, HealthInformatics@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.

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89 thoughts on “Extreme heat linked to climate change may adversely affect pregnancy

      • Though Temperatures DO have a direct effect on Gender in many reptiles. As their eggs incubate in the ground, if they are mildly warmed, they develop more males but if they are either Colder or Warmer they develope more females. I guess Nature already knows that at times of potential stress, species have a better survivability with more females being born (the males enjoy it better too)

    • You guys are missing the point – this is nothing more than one of those “can we have a cut of the cash cow, too” papers:

      “Our study indicates that there is a need for further research on the ways that climate change, and heat in particular, affect maternal health and neonatal outcomes,” McCormick says. “The research also shows that uniform standards for assessing the effects of heat on maternal fetal health need to be established.”

      You needn’t treat it as any kind of serious scientific endeavor.

      • McCormick and Leeann Kuehn, a recent GW MPH alumna concurrently studying to be a physician’s assistant, conducted the most extensive systematic review to date of research

        Kurt – “Most systematic review to date”, sounds serious to me.

    • Extreme Temperatures, simply determine how much time one spends in bed.

      Yes it does have a major effect on pregnancy.

      g

    • “The studies that McCormick and Kuehn identified provide evidence that exposure to temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress during unusually hot temperatures.”

      That’s why the birth rates are so low in the tropical heat soaked third world…..

    • Ditto the continent of Africa, which contains countries with the highest fertility rates worldwide.

    • It is interesting that countries with lots of air conditioning seem to be having a problem with sustainable birthrate – and those that don’t seem to have huge population growth. Maybe she got the study backwards.

  1. Well then… India and Indonesia must have very low populations indeed, if heat adversely effected pregnancy?…. Seeing that they’re in th’ tropics an’ all.

    What! They don’t? Those countries have some of the highest population densities in the world…..How can that be? Our climate Scientists say there should be no people there….. Oh, it’s a travesty.

  2. This goes way back to the old colonial days. It was justification for why Europeans were considered superior, it was because they came from cold places.
    Having lived most of my life in the Tropics, with kids reared in the oppressive heat – now completing there first post graduate qualifications, this is rubbish.
    This is why science is losing people’s trust.

  3. So CAGW should really please all the rabid Greens then? Saves blowing up the kiddies or throwing them off skyscrapers with the polar bears and then drinking the Koolaid by all accounts.

  4. Because

    extreme heat linked to climate change**

    has never been observed,

    this article is (in addition to the slam-dunk reasons given above)

    JUNK.

    **Note: “climate change” is almost always used in common useage to mean “human-caused climate change.”

    • I thought the increase in the average global temperature has been attributed largely to increased nighttime temperatures, which are lower than the daytime highs. Explain to me again how this affects pregnancy?

      • Typical fake news graph.
        The tips of those spikey black lines are the actual data; well NO not the actual thermometric readings, but the difference between the thermometer readings, and some equally fake news base line that was faked up years ago; maybe sometime between 1981 and 2010.
        Remember that there is not one scintilla of scientific evidence that the earth’s Temperature is some single number that stays the same always.

        It is SUPPOSED TO CHANGE from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year. It’s called …. WEATHER ….

        As for the red curve; there is no assurance that any point on that line was ever observed by anybody; it has no physical meaning whatsoever; just for the amusement of statisticians, as Dr. Roy used to put it of his polynomial curve fits.

        What is the good of having an Internationally recognized Absolute Temperature scale if people won’t use it for reporting Temperatures.

        G

    • I did not realize the Gore Effect also operated over decadal time scales!

    • Al Gore caused the world to cool. Thank you Al Gore. Obama caused the seas to lower – thank you Obama. These two are miracle workers of biblical proportions! (end sarcasm is case you didn’t pick that up)

  5. In the future, children will be grown from seeds just like they grow those tree shaped smelly things that you hang on your rear view mirror to make your car smell like………

  6. …The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, and an online Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics, HealthInformatics@GW…
    So students who are interested in the health industry but cannot, for some reason, study to become an actual Doctor or Nurse get passes in Public Health Areas.
    The important question is …Does Mickey Mouse himself turn up and pass out the certificates on graduation day?

  7. We are being flooded by a series of “what if?” reports allegedly related to climate change issues. These reports a priori accept the premise that climate change is human-induced and due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and bodes trouble for mankind. The premise itself is the issue in question. Until that issue is resolved, studies of the possible human effects of climate change are pointless and a waste of resources. Research on a predicated hypothesis is based on an illusion.

    Some physicists (most recently President Rosenbaum of Caltech) now posit that nature cannot be modeled with Newtonian physics but possibly might be modeled with quantum physics. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in December 2016 predicted a century of non-warming in which CO2 does not play a significant role. CERN concludes that climate models used by the United Nations Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to estimate future temperatures are too high and that the models should be redone. The CERN models are driven by quantum physics.

    Focusing research on untested hypotheses to prepare for an event with a very small likelihood of occurring is the wrong research, and policies stemming from that research are the wrong policies. The “results” from such research stimulate baseless scare-mongering. Get the science right first, and the right policies will follow. Make America right again!

    These often-quoted thoughts have merit.
    Anon: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge”.
    Anon: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

  8. “Pregnant women are an important but thus far largely overlooked group vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat linked to climate change”

    What extreme heat?

    • Here it is raining in Oklahoma in the middle of August, with a temperature in the low 80’s and with rain forcast for the next 10 days.

      Normally, about 90 percent of the time, at this time of year in Oklahoma the temperatures are running at or above 100 degrees and it has not rained since June. Right now it is pleasant temperatures and the grass is still green. From the heart of the Dustbowl we ask “what extreme heat?”.

      We had a tornado touch down in Tulsa Oklahoma on Sunday which is not normal for this time of year, and the reporters made a big deal out of the fact that a tornado had not touch down in August in Tulsa since 1958, although thankfully, they were not trying to tie it into CAGW.

      Well, the reason we don’t normally have tornadoes in August in Oklahoma is because usually we are baking under oppressive heat which prevents storm systems from moving through the area, and you can’t have a tornado without a storm system moving through. So that’s how unusual this mild summer is in Oklahoma.

      The world, not just Oklahoma, seems to be cooling off a little bit, going by all the anectdotal reports we have had on this website. It is certainly cooler and milder here where I live.

    • It’s 59 degrees here in Casper, Wyoming and raining. We have been below average since August began. July, on the other hand, was above average all month. Averages really don’t mean much, do they?

  9. When people migrate from colder zones to warmer zones or at the same place in winter and in summer and in rainy season, any such phenomena was recorded as a proof to support the theory as the so-called global warming is insignificant so far? Astrology says something on the personality traits of a person born under under different signs.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  10. “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.”

    Perhaps we should ask this to be factored in the following campaign

  11. Please moderator, could you put one of those warnings on this sort of nonsense so that I do not injure myself laughing.
    You know like colleges put on books and things so as not to upset snowflakes?
    Maybe an asterisk at the top , and stating “the following” is pure unadulterated dudes”
    Thanks.

  12. Head-shakingly stupid – but, needless to say, “further research is needed”. Got to keep these ‘researchers’ supplied with new cars, nice houses and holidays abroad. Meanwhile, all around them, working men and women are actually contributing positively to the wealth and wellbeing of their communities.

  13. Global warming with the ‘unprecedented’ CO2 levels is causing the evolution explosion last seen at the dawn of dinosaur’s era.
    Rattus Rex was found by gas engineer Tony Smith near a playground in the Hackney Downs area of London.

    /sarc

  14. Mothers in Sydney & Melbourne need not worry. Alarmist officials are screaming about extreme heat, while the official BOM figures here show that there is NO INCREASE in the number of hot days over the last 117 years.
    Where is that extreme heat? In the minds of sick people, it seems.

    • “The studies that McCormick and Kuehn identified provide evidence that exposure to temperature extremes can adversely impact birth outcomes, including changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress during unusually hot temperatures.”

      That’s why the birth rates are so low in the tropical heat soaked third world…..

    • “Where is that extreme heat? In the minds of sick people, it seems.”

      Actually, your closer to the truth than you realize.
      I posit that the modern world over-sensitizes people to weather.
      Modern first world people live in air conditioned homes where they enter their air conditioned vehicles in the garage drive to the workplace where the park in the underground cool parkade for the short walk to the elevator and ride up to the climate controlled office for the workday.
      The instant they step outside on a hot summer day it feels abnormal and thus they are easily duped into believing the real state of affairs is in disorder.
      In the past folks lived and worked submerged in the reality of the daily weather, the change in conditions from outside to inside varied little, with the exception of winter where “coal fired” warmth saved life and limb from a horrible death. Heat was seldom a problem as bodies adjusted with the changing seasons, any ancestor would be astounded by the stupidity of modern “climate science”.

  15. Tell that to the women who are producing the mist babies…poor peasant women in tropical regions.

    • Highest fertility rate in the world. Traditional diseases that could have been eradicated by pesticides were blocked by greens, UN ….. These people were left with this problem. It has nothing to do with the heat. I’ve seen women in Africa working in the fields in the sahel go to the shade of a tree to deliver their own babies, clean it up, wrap it up and tie it on their back and get back to work after a rest. No shrinking millennium violets these gals. They could do with a lot more cheap energy to lighten the burdens on their lives, though – guess who stops this?

  16. Estimated top temperature today in one of the French wine producing regions, Alsace, +17 C.

    The anxieties of expecting mothers must have been alleviated by frost a couple of months ago, the hail last weekend, Macron government’s plans to inflate local energy prices and the prospect of arriving to the hospital by bus once the time comes.

  17. Well, we better get to building some coal fired power plants in order to provide air conditioners to women who need it.

  18. Cities are up to 20 degrees hotter than the surrounding countryside and as far as i know pregnancies have not been effected. The populations of cities continues to grow.

    • This is a fascinating misunderstanding. Correlation is not causation – cities do not grow by births. Yes births happen but I don’t think there are any major cities outside Africa that are growing due to a birth rate above break even. Instead in the countryside birthrates tend to be higher than break even, and then people move to the city. New York has had a birth rate far below what is needed for a stable population since the 1970’s and yet the population has grown.

  19. Let us know when that “exteme heat” will show up to hurt those poor pregnant women.
    We must assume that pregnant women who live in the tropics (and lack air conditioning) are already being hurt and have been for a millenia. So why no concern over those billions affected now
    but concern for non-existent women facing non-existent heat in the next century? And why the belief that global warming will ever start up again? Plenty of questions, not much in the way of answers.
    Notice that these “studies” NEVER look at the harm of cold weather. This is a perfect example of the extreme bias in current climate “research” (if one can call it that). Cold weather kills far more than warm weather. Global warming would be a big help in reducing cold weather mortality rates.
    C’mon global warming!! Where are you, global warming? Someone go ask Al Gore, climate expert, about this.

  20. You can worry about pregnant women if you want, but I intend to keep the focus on the REAL vulnerable ones, our precious exploding CIS/Trans lesbian glaciers. These poor victims deserve a larger chunk of the funding pie, distributed fairly, of course to only CIS/Trans lesbian studies researchers.

  21. Wait, what about kittens and puppies? Aren’t they also “vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat linked to climate change”? Won’t someone please think of the kittens and puppies?

  22. Never mind basic public health expenditures in clean water, waste systems, and mosquito control, when political propaganda is the new priority.

  23. S’Truth, when is this sciencey nightmare going to end! And co authored by a lady that’s going to be a physician’s assistant (used to be a called a nurse.) I was born during the hottest period in N. America a long time ago. The family talked about those times for a decade or more afterwards and there was no A/C in hospitals or anywhere else. Almost 30 yrs later, I was in postage stamp sized Northern Nigeria, the most populous place in Africa just south of the Sahara where two clinical thermometers I had brought with me blew up in my luggage (turns out you need more robust thermometers in equatorial places). Nigeria’s citizens had no trouble with fertility and the country had 25 million people then and triple that today despite grievous global warming.

  24. So,, this man-caused catastrophe of too many humans will take care of itself, then. Sounds natural. Wouldn’t want to interfere.

  25. It is my fondest hope that these research papers are being written solely for the acquisition of grant money and for the sake of publishing, and that in no way, shape or form do the authors belief what they are writing. It would break my heart to think that college graduates these days have no ability for rational thought.

    • What do you expect when so many professors have no ability for rational thought? I’ve already warned my 10-year old son that, when he goes to college, he’d better avoid one of those majors where you come out dumber than when you went in.

  26. Yet another opportunity to apply the Maine – Florida test! Fertility rate in Florida which averages several tens of degrees warmer than Maine, is 1.77. Fertility rate in Maine is 1.64. Hmm. Clearly more data “homogenization” is needed.

  27. Just curious – are these women pregnant because of the increased rape caused by Climate Change or because Climate Change forced them into prostitution?

  28. More smoke and mirrors to hide the Elephant(s) in the room. Western populations are shrinking. Healthy sperm counts in Western men is way down (according to a meta-study, for what it’s worth) ~60% since 1970. Western society has become toxic to Western peoples.

  29. From this climate/hardiness zone map you can see that 2 °C of warming is roughly equivalent to moving about 100 miles south, in the United States:

    So if global warming kicks in and warms the U.S. climate by 2 °C, then anyone pregnant in the USA should immediately move 100 miles north, thereby lowering the temperatures she must endure by about 2 °C.

    Or she could relocate to an elevation about 1000 feet higher, for similar effect.

    Or some combination: e.g., move 50 miles north and to a 500′ higher elevation.

    /sarc
     

    Okay, that was sarcasm (except for the zone map — that was real). This isn’t: As most folks here at WUWT know, but Dr. McCormick apparently doesn’t, “global warming” is not actually expected to be very “global.” It won’t cause much increase in “extreme heat.” Instead, it is expected to disproportionately increase nighttime/winter lows at high latitudes (they call that “polar amplification”).

    The tropics aren’t warming much, and aren’t expected to, That’s nice, because they’re already warm enough. Instead, most of the “global warming” is making brutal climates at extreme latitudes a little bit less harsh.

    That’s very good news! Dr. McCormick might not have mentioned it, but extreme anything is rough on pregnant women, and that includes extreme cold as well as extreme heat.

    It also includes extreme hunger. Being hungry is very, very bad for pregnant women and their babies. Anthropogenic CO2 is helping to mitigate that problem. An estimated 15-20% of current agricultural production is a direct result of the “fertilization” effect of current higher CO2 levels.

    The benefits of higher CO2 levels to plants have been known to science for a century. This photo is from a 1920 article in Scientific American magazine:

    Higher CO2 levels not only make most plants grow better, they also make most plants more drought resistant. Additionally, the greenhouse effect is expected to accelerate the hydrological cycle, which may reduce droughts.

    The combined result is that the Earth is “greening,” especially in arid areas, like the Sahel.

    Even wildly alarmist National Geographic has noticed, though they couldn’t quite bring themselves to admit it’s the CO2 that’s responsible:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

    Here’s an excerpt:


    Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

    The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. …

    In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

    “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades. …

    “Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass,” he said.

    “Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back,” he said.

    “The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable.”

  30. Well since Dr. Marohasy in oz took on the BOM temperature “incident”, their stalled drop into La Nina territory on the Enso temperature plot fell like a stone. I believe the Dreaded Pause has returned as is set to stretch back int the mid 1990s despite Karlization and endless rounds of jiggering caused by built in algorithms. Recall Mark Steyn’s famous remark at the Senate hearing on climate data and projections. Paraphrasing, he said how can we be so certain what the temperature is in 2100 when we still can projecft what the temperature in 1950 WILL be!!. Global warming isn’t going to withstand this this final La Nina coup de grace. I will be necessary to CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC to get the updated version of the BOM ENSO graph:

    Also with all the cooling reported in N. America, Europe Siberia, Australia How ’bout that big summer snowfall in Iceland recently!

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/09/extreme-heat-linked-to-climate-change-may-adversely-affect-pregnancy/
    – add in the cooling in South America. Here is a snow scene in Argentina that the MSM ‘failed’ to pick up:

  31. It’s worse than they thought…I was born in early August in PA, so that clearly indicates that global warming is going to cause an increase in the, you know, ‘den!er types’.

    • Better be careful in what you write. Given the propensity of climate scientists to confuse correlation with causation, they might start to think that “den!er types” cause global warming, and then we’d all be running for the hills.

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