Rise in temperature can lead to stillbirths

Rise in temperature can lead to stillbirthsSydney, Dec 16 - Increase in temperature levels can affect pregnant women more than others, resulting in more stillbirths and shorter pregnancies, says an Australian study.

Adrian Barnett, associate professor at Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, led the study which looked at still and premature births over a four-year period from 2005.

Barnett said a total of 101,870 births were recorded throughout the period and of these 653 or 0.6 percent were stillbirths.

"We found that increases in temperature increased the risk of stillbirth, and this was particularly true in the earlier stages of pregnancy before 28 weeks. Increased temperatures also shortened gestation times, which means more pre-term babies who often have serious long-term health problems such as cerebral palsy and impaired vision and hearing," said Barnett.

Barnett's study recorded weekly temperature, humidity and air pollution levels for each pregnancy.

He said that the lowest risks were in the coolest weeks, and that warm temperatures with weekly means of 23°C were just as dangerous as the hottest weeks.

"Stillbirths are obviously devastating for families, and many stillbirths have an unknown cause so more research is needed to help prevent them," Barnett said.(IANS)