10 June 2015
A new study has found that birth weight could be influenced by the temperature of the environment during pregnancy.
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Harvard University developed a technique that measures the correlation between air temperature and birth weight. They looked at the relationship between birth weights and the ambient air temperature during pregnancy in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2008.
Dr Itai Kloog, a senior lecturer in BGU's Department of Geography and Environmental Development, said the study found that exposure to high air temperature during pregnancy increases the risk of lower birth weight and can even cause preterm birth.
He said: "An increase of 8.5 °C in the last trimester of average exposure was associated with a 17g decrease in birth weight of babies born full term after adjusting for other potential risk factors."
Along with his team, Dr Kloog developed a "high resolution air temperature estimation model" to predict the daily air temperature and look at the level of exposure during various prenatal periods from conception until birth.
Published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, the study could help determine the impact of continued emissions from greenhouse gases, which has caused an increase in temperature.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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