Could climate change lead to more premature births?

Not only; Besides climate change, what is the role of wildfires?

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Could climate change lead to more premature births?
© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images News

Climate change and wildfires have a major impact on our health. There are research and studies that every month try to analyze the disparate effects they have on our bodies, but what are the implications for births?

The study Impacts of heat and wildfire on preterm birth published on the Environmental research, provided an interesting retrospective on the topic.

Climate crisis
Climate crisis© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images News
 

Climate change continues to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of heat events and wildfires, both of which are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Few studies simultaneously evaluated exposures to these increasingly common exposures.

"We investigated the relationship between exposure to heat and wildfire smoke and preterm birth. In this time-stratified case-crossover study, participants consisted of 85,806 California singleton PTBs (20-36 gestational weeks) from May through October of 2015-2019. Birthing parent ZIP codes were linked to high-resolution daily weather, PM2.5 from wildfire smoke, and ambient air pollution data Heat day was defined as a day with apparent temperature >98th percentile within each ZIP code and heat wave was defined as ≥2. consecutive heat days was defined as a day with any exposure to wildfire-smoke PM2.5. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing exposures during a hazard. period (lags 0-6) compared to control periods.

Climate crisis
Climate crisis© Christopher Furlong / Staff Getty Images News
 

Wildfire-smoke days were associated with 3.0% increased odds of PTB (ORlag0: 1.03, CI: 1.00-1.05). Compared with white participants, associations appeared stronger among Black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indians/Alaskan Native participants. Heatwave days (ORlag2: 1.07, CI: 1.02-1.13) were positively associated with PTB, with stronger associations among those simultaneously exposed to wildfire smoke days (ORlag2: 1.19, CI: 1.11-1.27). Similar findings were observed for heat days and when other temperature metrics (e.g., maximum, minimum) were used. Heat and wildfire increased PTB risk with evidence of synergism. As the occurrence and co-occurrence of these events increase, exposure reduction among pregnant people is critical, especially among racial/ethnic minorities."