Exposure to extreme heat during pregnancy can lead to lifelong ailments: Report

It suggested that these interventions can be home-based and low-cost, making them sustainable and accessible.
Representational image of pregnancy.
Representational image of pregnancy.(File Photo)

NEW DELHI: Exposure to extreme heat during pregnancy can lead to lifelong physical and neurological disorders in affected children, said the Lancet.

Individual-level and community-level adaptation interventions, which involve pregnant people as active decision makers, can be implemented to address the challenges posed by extreme heat, said the report in The Lancet Planetary Health.

It suggested that these interventions can be home-based and low-cost, making them sustainable and accessible. These include health education sessions that educate pregnant women on coping strategies for heat suchas cold potable water, ice towels, cooling fans, use of window blinds and reflective curtains, among others.

The article added that pregnant women can be encouraged to wear loose-fitting, full-sleeved cotton clothing, which will shield them and their foetuses from direct heat exposure while facilitating efficient heat dissipation through increased air permeability and airflow across the skin’s surface.

Dr. Sushma Ravindran, Consultant Obstetrician, Women’s Center by Motherhood Hospital, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, said they have observed a concerning rise in pregnant women presenting with dehydration. She said extreme heat poses significant risks in pregnancy as heat exhaustion and heatstroke can lead to dizziness, fatigue, nausea and serious complications. “This is likely due to the increased fluid needs during pregnancy and the exacerbating effect of hot weather on fluid loss,” she said.

“We advise pregnant women living in excessively hot areas to stay in air-conditioned spaces, limit outdoor activities, stay hydrated and wear loose clothes. Monitoring symptoms and seeking medical attention promptly are crucial. By taking these proactive measures, they can minimise risks and prioritise their health,” she added.

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