Climate Change and Pollution Are Being Tied to Pregnancy Risks Like Stillbirth, And Black Moms Are Most at Risk

Climate Change and Pollution Are Being Tied to Pregnancy Risks Like Stillbirth, And Black Moms Are Most at Risk

According to new research, pregnant women of all races who are exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to face pregnancy risks, like have children who are premature, underweight, or stillborn. The research also shows that African American pregnant women are at an even higher risk if exposed to high temperatures or air pollution.

As The New York Times reports, the research looked at over 32 million births in the United States. The new research also adds more factual evidence to the narrative that minorities are affected more often by the dangers brought on by pollution and global warming than the majority.

Climate Change and Pollution Are Being Tied to Pregnancy Risks Like Stillbirth, And Black Moms Are Most at Risk
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In addition to the dangers that heat and pollution put on a pregnant woman, it is known that minority communities in the United States are often hotter and are often located near highly polluted areas. It also adds to the growing concerned that climate change will take a toll on babies’ health as it worsens.

According to the study, as reported by The NYT, after the authors looked through 57 studies published since 2007 and discovered that four of the studies showed that “high temperatures were tied to an increased risk of premature birth ranging from 8.6 percent to 21 percent. Low birth weights were also more common as temperatures rose.”

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And two of the studies looked at the link between temperatures and stillbirths. “One found that every temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius in the week before delivery corresponded with a 6 percent greater likelihood of stillbirth between May and September. Both studies found racial disparities in the number of stillbirths,” The Times reports.

Many of the studies also showed the correlation between pregnancy risks like premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirths and air pollution.

“The vast majority of the studies reviewed in the paper concluded that ozone and PM 2.5 are also associated with preterm births, low birth weights and stillbirths. One study found that high exposure to air pollution during the final trimester of pregnancy was linked to a 42 percent increase in the risk of stillbirth.”

The New York Times
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The studies also revealed that mothers with asthma were also at a higher risk. Bruce Bekkar, one of the co-authors of the study and a retired gynecologist, told The New York Times that “Black moms matter. It’s time to really be paying attention to the groups that are especially vulnerable.” And these issues only add to the burden Black women already face when it comes to pregnancy.

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And Catherine Garcia Flowers, a field organizer in Houston for Moms Clean Air Force, agrees, she told The NYT. “This is a moment of reckoning for racial injustice and health disparities. Doing nothing about air pollution, which so clearly has a greater impact on Black Americans, is racism in action.”

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