Climate crisis and pregnancy

Extreme weather events can adversely impact pregnancies.
5:10 | 12/08/22

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Transcript for Climate crisis and pregnancy
SEVEN YEARS OLD, SINGING THAT SONG. IT'S ADORABLE. >> HAS AN OLD SOUL THERE. >> WE STARTED A NEW SERIES ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND FAMILIES, CENTERING AROUND HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND HOW WE MOVE FORWARD. >> IT IS PRETTY COOL AND INFORMATIVE. THE NEW CONCERNS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE MAY BE IMPACTING EXPECTANT MOTHERS. HERE'S ABC CHIEF METEOROLOGIST GINGER ZEE WITH MORE ON THIS STORY. >> ESTHER LOVES HER JOB. SHE'S A DOUALA, TRAINED TO ASSIST PREGNANT WOMEN WITH EMOTIONAL, INFORMATIONAL, AND PHYSICAL SUPPORT DURING LABOR. SHE GIVES MIAMI-BASED CLIENTS THE PERSONAL TOUCH MANY LONG FOR. >> I'VE HAD CLIENTS CALL ME, AND THEY'LL SAY THINGS LIKE, I HANDED MY BIRTH PLAN TO MY DOCTOR, AND THE DOCTOR DIDN'T WANT TO LOOK AT IT. SO, THIS IS THE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE THAT NOBODY CAN EVER GET BACK. SO, IT MATTERS TO HAVE PEOPLE THERE TO SUPPORT YOU AND WALK YOU THROUGH IT. >> Reporter: THESE DAYS, ESTHER IS ALSO GIVING HER CLIENTS SOMETHING ELSE, INFORMATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND HOW IT MIGHT IMPACT THEIR PREGNANCIES. >> I WOULD SAY ALSO RELATED TO CLIMATE CHANGE SO PEOPLE CAN ACCESS IT. >> Reporter: CLIMATE CHANGE IS AMPLIFYING EXTREMES LIKE HEAT WAVES, WILDFIRE, AND FLASH FLOODING. AND ESTER HAS SEEN THE IMPACTS ON THE MOMS SHE'S WORKED WITH. >> DURING THE 2017 HURRICANE IRMA EXPERIENCE, I HAD A CLIENT OF MINE WHO WAS ALREADY DEALING WITH SOME ISSUES WITH HER HOUSING AND DIDN'T FEEL SAFE TO STAY IN HER HOME. AND SHE DECIDED, ALONG WITH MY FAMILY, TO MAKE OUR WAY UP TO GEORGIA. AND I REALIZED THAT PREGNANCY IS NOT OFTEN SEEN AS A SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE TO PAY ATTENTION TO DURING A HURRICANE. >> Reporter: ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, THIS DOCTOR IS ALSO HELPING HIS PREGNANT PATIENTS DEAL WITH CLIMATE-RELATED CRISIS. >> I'VE TAKEN CARE OF PATIENTS WHO HAVE HAD TO FLEE WILDFIRES, THE SAME WILDFIRES THAT LED TO THE TERRIBLE AIR QUALITY THAT MY FAMILY AND I HAVE TO BREATHE WITH UNKNOWN REPERCUSSIONS. HEY, GOOD MORNING. >> HI, GOOD MORNING. >> HOW ARE YOU? >> Reporter: FOR THE PAST TWO DECADES, HE HAS STUDIED AND LECTURED ON THE EVIDENCE THAT PROVES CLIMATE CHANGE CAN IMPACT PREGNANCY. >> WHEN YOU LOOK AT MOTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN PREGNANT AND THEN SUBJECT TO NATURAL DISASTER, THERE IS SIGNIFICANT MENTAL HEALTH HARM, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, PTSD. WE ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THE OFFSPRING, THE BABIES, ARE OF RISK FOR LOWER BIRTHRATE, STILL BIRTH, PREMATURE BIRTH. WE UNDERSTAND THAT EXCESS HEAT EXPOSURE, AIR POLLUTION, PARTICULARLY AIR POLLUTION ESPECIALLY, HAS ADVERSE IMPACTS ON PREGNANCY OUTCOMES. >> A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW FOUND A SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHANGE EXPOSURE AND SEVERAL OUTCOMES LIKE ECLAMPSIA, PREECLAMPSIA, CATARACT, LOW BIRTH WEIGHT, PRETERM BIRTH, AND HYPERTENSION. HEAT EXPOSURE IMPACTS ON EXPEAK TANT MOTHERS OVER A 20-YEAR SPAN ESTIMATE THAT HEAT EXPOSURE MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PRETERM BIRTHS. >> I KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE A HOT WEEKEND, AND I WAS WONDERING IF THERE'S ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR THAT. >> WE'RE TRYING TO ADVISE FAMILIES TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE STAYING HYDRATED. TRY TO STAY COOL. PAY ATTENTION TO THE AIR QUALITY. I VIEW PHYSICIANS AS TRANSLATORS OF SCIENCE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. >> I'M ACTUALLY WORKING ON TRAINING OTHER DOUALAS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. >> ESTER AND THE DOCTOR, TWO PROFESSIONALS NAVIGATING CHALLENGES GIVING BIRTH IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD. >> WE ARE NOT TOO FAR GONE. WE HAVE STILL THE ABILITY TO MITIGATE AND REDUCE THE IMPACT THAT WE HAVE HAD AND TO COURSE CORRECT. AND I THINK THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE HEALTH CARE COMMUNITY TO REALLY SPEAK UP. AND I THINK WE CAN DO IT. IT JUST TAKES THE RIGHT WILL. AND I THINK WE CAN FIND THAT WILL. >> STILL TIME TO REDUCE THE IMPACT, LET'S HOPE. >> THANK YOU SO MUCH, GINGER, FOR THAT REPORT AND SHEDDING LIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE. DR. JEN JOINS US NOW. DR. JEN, LET'S TALK ABOUT DOCTORS. ARE THEY BEING TRAINED RIGHT NOW ON THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS FROM CLIMATE CHANGE ON PREGNANT WOMEN? >> THEY'RE NOT. AND THERE ARE SO MANY TENTACLES TO THAT ANSWER, YOU GUYS. FIRST OF ALL, WOMEN'S HEALTH, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, PREGNANCY, OBSTETRICS, GROSSLY UNDERRESEARCHED, UNDERSTUDIED. WE NEED TO PRIORITIZE WOMEN'S HEALTH MUCH MORE THAN WE DO, NOT JUST HERE IN THE COUNTRY BUT GLOBALLY. I FEW YEARS AGO I WENT TO A REALLY INTERESTING CONFERENCE UP IN BOSTON AT HARVARD TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE EFFECTS ON OUR HEALTH. AND THE TAKE-HOME MESSAGE -- AND I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS -- THE PLANET HAS BEEN HERE FOR BILLIONS OF YEARS. IT WILL SURVIVE. IT'S THE PEOPLE WHO WON'T UNLESS WE MAKE A CHANGE IN THIS. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PREGNANCY AND IN UTERO EXPOSURES, WE NEED TO CONNECT THE DOTS ON THIS, OR FUTURE GENERATIONS AND OUR POPULATION WILL SUFFER. >> IF THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU

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