Study finds extreme heat can lead to health problems in newborns

Written by on August 5, 2020

Study finds extreme heat can lead to health problems in newborns

By Donna McDermott, StateImpact Pennsylvania

August 5, 2020

Image by Cindy Parks from Pixabay

A recent study led by Dr. Bruce Bekkar of the Permanente Medical Group shows that extreme heat can lead to health problems in newborns, especially for Black babies. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Donna McDermott reports, families that are expecting can take advantage of some practical solutions.

Hot days can become dangerous for pregnant people. For example, the risk of preterm birth goes up by more than 10 perfect for every 10 degree temperature increase during summer months. Some birth workers say doctors aren’t doing enough to communicate the climate-change related risk to patients. Especially Black patients. 

Ngozi Tibbs is a doula and runs Sankofa Childbirth Education and Lactation Services in Pittsburgh. She finds diverse ways for her clients to stay healthy.

“Being pregnant in the summer can be very challenging but staying hydrated is key, eating lots of good fruits. And we do have some families, families and parents in our circle that are diabetic. So we talk about fruits that will not raise their glycemic levels.”

She and other birth workers also advise that pregnant people set up fans, take cold showers and baths, and, once the baby is born, keep them out of the sun and hydrated through ample nursing or formula.  

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