Your baby’s birth weight depends on numerous factors and a new study has found that the weather condition is one of them. Researchers say that extreme hot or cold weathers during your second and third trimester can lower your baby’s birth weight. The study was conducted at the National Institutes of Health based on information from 220,000 babies at 19 U.S. hospitals.
The researchers studied the birth weight of the babies between 2002 and 2008 and compared them against weather data through these years. Unusually cold temperatures were notes as temperatures below the 10th percentile and unusually high temperatures were noted above the 90th percentile. The researchers called babies who were born weighing less than 5.5 lbs after 37 weeks of gestation as ‘term low birth weight’ babies.
The average temperatures for each trimester of pregnancy and duration of the pregnancy were calculated and the findings showed that women exposed to extremely cold weather conditions in their second or third trimester had a higher chance (18 to 21%) of having term low birth weight babies. Further, women exposed to extremely cold weather throughout pregnancy had a 257% higher risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies.
Similarly, women who were exposed to unusually hot weather during their second or third trimesters saw a 31% greater chance of giving birth to low birth weight babies. Women who experienced high temperatures throughout pregnancy had a 249% increased risk of having low birth weight babies.
The study was published in Environmental Research and researchers are yet to figure out the link between weather condition and birth weight of the baby. But, there are several other studies that show birth season is a factor of allergy risk, learning disability and baby’s lung capacity.
All said it’s best to avoid extremely hot or cold conditions while you’re pregnant. “Until we can learn more, it makes sense to reduce the amount of time that pregnant women are exposed to extreme hot or cold weather,” Pauline Mendola, the study’s senior author said.