Health Care

Study: Climate change could lead to worse heart defects in babies

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Rising temperatures associated with climate change could trigger heart defects in babies, according to a new study in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Heart Association.

Mothers exposed to extreme heat during the early stages of their pregnancy, approximately three to eight weeks post-conception, could lead to more babies being born with congenital heart defects (CHDs) between 2025 and 2035. 

The study found that higher temperatures caused by climate change could result in as many as 7,000 additional cases of CHDs in the United States during that time.

Midwestern states such as Iowa will potentially have the highest increase in mothers exposed to excessively hot days during the spring and summer months, followed by the southern states such as Georgia and North Carolina.{mosads}

The study notes that there is a lack of research regarding heat-related CHDs, although animal studies have found that heat exposure during early pregnancy can cause fetal cell death or severe fetal malformations.

CHDs are among the most common birth defects and are the leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality in the U.S., the American Heart Association noted.

The U.S. Census Bureau has also projected that the number of births across the nation will continue to increase through 2030, estimating that 4.2 million pregnant women could be at risk of rising temperatures.

“The potential increases in both the number of pregnant women and maternal heat exposure suggest an alarming effect that climate change may have on reproductive health,” the study states.

The study’s release comes amid President Trump citing massive winter storms plunging temperatures across the Midwest in an attempt to dismiss global warming.

The president has repeatedly cast doubt on the existence and effects of climate change, although experts note that there is a difference between the climate and weather.

Tags American Heart Association Climate change Congenital heart defects Donald Trump Global warming

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