Climate change could soon cause congenital heart defects in babies, says study
Climate change is wreaking havoc on our planet - and it may begin to affect our health while we're still in utero.
Higher temperatures could soon have an impact on babies' heart health.
A new study forecasts that a larger number of infants will likely be born with congenital heart defects (CHDs) between 2025 and 2035 due to maternal heat exposure.
It's predicted that 7,000 extra babies will be born with such a defect in that 11-year period.
CHDs can harm a baby's overall health and affect their development in the long-term.
The study, highlighted in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at previous research around mothers who were in the early stages of pregnancy in spring and summer months.
It is not clear how higher temperatures affect the heart or cause congenital heart problems.
This is not the first time that heat exposure during pregnancy has been associated with health issues.
Previous studies have found that there is a link between enduring high temperatures while expecting and mothers going into labour earlier and giving birth to lower weight babies.
"Our findings underscore the alarming impact of climate change on human health and highlight the need for improved preparedness to deal the anticipated rise in a complex condition that often requires lifelong care and follow-up," study author Dr Shao Lin, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Albany, told CNN.