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Climate Change Is Making Babies Sick: New Research Links Climate Crisis to Pregnancy Risks

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

In new research released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, CAC Board Member, Bruce Bekkar, M.D., co-authored a study demonstrating the link between the climate crisis and negative pregnancy outcomes.

The research shows that heat and air pollution are taking a serious toll on the health of babies and mothers. One of the studies found that “high exposure to air pollution during the final trimester of pregnancy was linked to a 42 percent increase in the risk of stillbirth.”

This research covered 32 million births and compiled 57 individual studies to show how the climate crisis and air pollution are causing pregnancy and birth complications, especially for Black mothers.

“Black moms matter. It’s time to really be paying attention to the groups that are especially vulnerable,” – Bruce Bekkar, M.D. CAC Board Member and Co-Author of this Report

Black, brown, and low-income communities experience more heat waves and air pollution because their neighborhoods lack tree cover and parks and are often near freeways and industrial facilities.

Not only are Black mothers burdened by heat and air pollution risks during pregnancy, they also receive unequal levels of treatment when they do seek care because of racial bias in our healthcare system.

The climate crisis is a public health emergency that’s already impacting black and brown communities. We’re redoubling our anti-racist work and engaging public health professionals through our Public Health Advisory Council, because every child deserves clean air and clean water.

Want to learn more? Read this New York Times article about the study.

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