Heat And Cold Can Lead To Premature Birth: New Study Says Temp Extremes Endanger Mothers-To-Be

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Yet Another Problem With Climate Change: Temperature Extremes Lead To Premature Births

There was a memorable bit of political grandstanding a couple years ago in the House of Representatives that perhaps even avid political observers will remember. In the middle of a debate about climate change, Rep. James Inhofe (R-OK) brought a snowball onto the floor of the House.

Inhofe, a rabid climate change denier and widely known as the dumbest man in Congress was attempting to graphically present one of the stupidest anti-climate change points in their idiotic arsenal: that because winter still exists then the climate must not be changing.

His oil and gas producing patrons certainly loved the stunt, but of course political grandstanding does nothing to help the flooded out families in Louisiana, nor the drought-stricken farmers in California and much of the southwest of the U.S., nor millions of other people affected by climate change.

And now we can add one more group to the list of people who are likely to be affected negatively by climate change as it continues to get worse: pregnant women.

A new study by the National Institutes of Health has found that when pregnant women are exposed to extreme temperatures are more likely to deliver their children prematurely.

The study looked at data from some 200,000 women who delivered at one of a dozen hospitals, and cross-referenced that information with weather data from the area where the women were living. They found that women who experienced extremely hot or cold weather during the first seven weeks of their pregnancies ran an increased risk of delivering their babies prior to 37 weeks.

The weather data was defined thusly: extreme cold days were any days that fell in the 10th percentile or below an area’s average temperatures, while extremely hot days were defined as those days that rose above the 90th percentile for temperatures in the area.

The team found that heat waves during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were associated with a 20 percent higher chance of delivery before 34 weeks; a 9 percent increased risk of delivery during weeks 34 to 36; and a 3 percent higher chance of delivery during weeks 37 and 38.

Cold temperatures were found to be associated with an 11 percent higher risk of delivery before 34 weeks, and a 4 percent increased risk during weeks 37 and 38.

Although the risks for both hot and cold weather affecting delivery dates were most profound in the first seven weeks of the pregnancy, the researchers also found that the risk of hot days affecting the time of delivery continued through the 21st week of the pregnancy.

No word yet on whether Rep. Inhofe has any insight on how to help women deal with these temperature extremes that are growing every year–which is strange considering he is a staunchly “pro-life” politician.

Maybe he’s too busy playing with his balls in the snow to comment.

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