Panel discussion: Impacts of climate change on women's health

August 28, 2020

Senior Editor Angie DeRosa sat down Drs. Bekkar, DeNicola, Pandipati and Abel to discuss findings from a recent study on the association with air pollution and heat exposure with adverse obstetrical outcomes, such as preterm birth and stillbirth.

This interview is based on findings from “Association of Air Pollution and Heat Exposure with Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight, and Stillbirth in the U.S.: A Systematic Review,” recently published in JAMA Network Open.

The review contributes the largest number of recent studies (2007-2019) focusing solely on US populations and is the first, to the authors’ knowledge, to combine the increasingly common exposures of air pollutants and heat associated with a series of adverse obstetrical outcomes – preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

It is a first-of-its-kind study focused on the US.

Two of the study’s authors, Drs. Bruce Bekkar and Nate DeNicola, participate in this panel, as well as two maternal-fetal medicine specialists—Drs. Santosh Pandipati and David Abel—who offer the practitioner’s perspective of why this matters and what practicing ob/gyns can do now to address it in their practice.

Dr. Bekkar is a board member of the Climate Action Change Campaign. He has shared original research on the risks to pregnancy in the US at national meetings of the American Public Health Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Dr. DeNicola leads the environmental health efforts within ACOG.

As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Pandipati has issued a call to action on this for healthcare providers; and Dr. Abel also has and has an upcoming article, “Climate Change and Women’s Health: What Practicing OB/GYNs need to know.”

Read ACOG’s position statement on Climate Change and Women’s Health.