The close impact of climate change on both professional and personal life was seen by Dr. Santosh Pandipati. He is a San Francisco-based physician, who told BBC news that “I have taken care of patients, who had to run away from wildfires”. Further, he added “The same wildfires, which led to the decline in air quality, that I and my family had to breathe”.
He said that “We understand that excess air pollution, heat exposure, particulate air pollution, has adverse effects on the pregnancy and child”. Dr. Pandipati is a specialist in maternal-foetal medicine in the Bay Area, who has been involved in the research of finding a connection between health and climate change, for the last two years.
There are studies that suggest that high ambient temperature can alleviate the risk of before-time births. Moreover, it’s been confirmed that an increase in air pollution can reduce birth weight in certain populations.
While speaking with expectant and new mothers, he learned and leaned on the findings of the study, after discussing the spread of heat, infectious diseases, disaster readiness, and air pollution avoidance.
“It is a topic that is going to unfortunately impact your family, it’s going to affect everyone’s family,” he said worryingly.
One scientific review that was published in the year 2015, highlighted the relationship between many adverse pregnancy outcomes like preeclampsia, low birth weight, cataracts, hypertension, and preterm births with climate change.
A study, which was published in 2020, found that heat exposure must have been attributed to around 25,000 early births every year between 1969 & 1988.
Moreover, there are many mental health issues like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Pandipati added and said, “We even understand that the babies and offspring are at the risk of stillbirth, lower birth weight, and premature birth”.
David E. Abel and Pandipati, together predict that extreme weather events and climate change can also be linked to depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, and thereby affect women in a disproportionate manner. Some research also shows that apart from preterm births and lower birth rates, climate change is also somewhere connected to the likelihood of stillbirths, because of extreme heat conditions.
A Miami-based doula, Esther McCant, said that she gives regularly, her clients' information related to climate change & how it can affect their pregnancies. A doula is someone who assists pregnant women by offering physical and emotional support during labor, and by offering information.
The advice she usually gives to expectant mothers includes the importance of hydration, hurricane preparation, extreme heat management tips, and how to get employer and government support.
There have been cases when she has seen pregnant women suffering from the effects of climate change on their health and mental well-being. In regard to this, he said that “We haven’t gone too far, we have the ability to reduce and manage climate change by taking appropriate steps”.