On The Frontline Of Climate Change
The world, it can be stated with a straight face, has stopped receiving the new generation with a warm welcome. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal, recently published six research papers, according to which the Global Warming is damaging foetuses in wombs. Those papers have revealed that there has been an increase in the birth rate of premature babies, with the Climate Change damaging the babies’ health. Researchers have also noticed that babies gain abnormal weight after their birth. Hence, they become the victims of unwanted obesity. In a nutshell, the rapid rise in Climate Change due to Global Warming endangers foetuses, newborns and infants across the Globe.
Some of the research papers have mentioned that the incidence and intensity of wildfires have increased worldwide because of Global Warming and rapid Climate Change. Wildfires, resulting in harmful smoke, are causing a variety of physical complications among newborns, who would have to suffer the consequences for a long time. At the same time, excessive air pollution, due to uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, is causing infertility-related problems among women at an alarming rate.
Some research papers have explained the impact of smoke, generated by wildfires, on pregnant women and newborns. It has been noticed that smoke from wildfires has doubled a woman’s risk of various physical complications shortly before conception. After giving birth to their children, mothers are suffering from various diseases in the long run. The newborns, too, are suffering from various physical complications, including Gastroschisis (a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall), soon after their birth. In case of Gastroschisis, the baby’s intestines are found outside of her/his body, often seen coming out through a hole beside the belly button. The hole can be small or large, and sometimes other organs, such as the stomach and liver, can also be found outside of the body.
Researchers are of the opinion that the risk of contracting such a complex disease in the mother’s womb because of wildfire smoke has increased by 28% in recent times, and it is happening in the first three months of pregnancy. Incidents of warming, air pollution and heatwaves have also increased the birth rate of premature babies. As per a study carried out from 2005 to 2015, Global Warming triggered an increase in birth rate of premature babies from 5-7%. This rate has risen by more than 16% in warmer regions, with some women delivering babies within 37 weeks of pregnancy.
These research papers have been prepared after conducting researches in many countries, including the US, Denmark, Israel and Australia, across the globe. According to the publisher, all the papers have been published simultaneously in a special issue of ‘Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology’ in order to ‘focus’ on the subject.
Some of those studies have found a direct impact of Global Warming on newborns, who gain abnormal weight after their birth. A survey, carried out on 200,000 Israeli children, has helped researchers come to the conclusion that newborns gain abnormal weight within a year of their birth because of warming, and this trend is becoming extremely dangerous for at least 5-10% of infants. As a result, childhood obesity has become a global pandemic. Currently, at least 18% of children are overweight or obese, in this world.
Global Warming and extreme heat waves have further increased the incidence of hospitalisation of children around the world. In some countries or regions, the birth-rate of premature and specially-abled children has increased by 5-7% with a maximum temperature rise of seven degrees Celsius. Furthermore, Environmental Pollution has started altering women’s menstrual cycle, reducing their fertility, and the rate (8-14%) is also alarming.
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I was alarmed at the number of women at my workplace that were undergoing fertility treatment. I am no longer in that age bracket but it seemed proportionately so much higher than when I was.