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Heat Exposure and Maternal Health in the Face of Climate Change

Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 853;
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 23 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather and Public Health)
PDF [435 KB, uploaded 3 August 2017]


Climate change will increasingly affect the health of vulnerable populations, including maternal and fetal health. This systematic review aims to identify recent literature that investigates increasing heat and extreme temperatures on pregnancy outcomes globally. We identify common research findings in order to create a comprehensive understanding of how immediate effects will be sustained in the next generation. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guide, we systematically reviewed articles from PubMed and Cochrane Reviews. We included articles that identify climate change-related exposures and adverse health effects for pregnant women. There is evidence that temperature extremes adversely impact birth outcomes, including, but not limited to: changes in length of gestation, birth weight, stillbirth, and neonatal stress in unusually hot temperature exposures. The studies included in this review indicate that not only is there a need for further research on the ways that climate change, and heat in particular, may affect maternal health and neonatal outcomes, but that uniform standards for assessing the effects of heat on maternal fetal health also need to be established. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; maternal health; fetal health; heat exposure climate change; maternal health; fetal health; heat exposure

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Kuehn, L.; McCormick, S. Heat Exposure and Maternal Health in the Face of Climate Change. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 853.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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