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Climate Change & Maternal Health: Where We Go From Here

November 3, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am

Organized by Pathfinder International and What to Expect Project

Climate Change & Maternal Health: Where We Go From Here

November 3, 2022


In anticipation of this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), please join Pathfinder International and What to Expect Project as we examine the impact of climate change on maternal health and discuss the importance of ensuring that pregnant people have access to the services they need to protect their health and the health of their children.

We have long known that social determinants have a major impact on maternal health, and we are now seeing climate change becoming a major risk factor in health outcomes throughout preconception, pregnancy, and beyond. Pregnancy increases vulnerability to climate change due to factors like extreme temperatures, air pollution, infectious disease, natural disasters, drought, food insecurity, poverty, displacement, extinction, severe storms, flooding, wildfires and more—especially for low-income and BIPOC communities. These climate change factors have been connected to increased harmful pregnancy outcomes, including preterm labor and birth, low birthweight, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities, medical interventions like C-section deliveries, and maternal stress. Maternal stress during disasters can be brought on by struggling to find care, lack of access to family and support services, loss of safety/security, and more.

While emerging evidence of the intersectionality between climate and health have created some discussion, we still see little action taken by policymakers to protect pregnant people. We now know that climate and health are directly related, and pregnancy means a higher vulnerability to climate change outcomes. Knowing this, government agencies must include the risks to maternal health in their assessments of the climate crisis while including a focus on economic and racial disparities. Experts in maternal health and climate also need to be included in the decision-making processes to ensure pregnant people have services to protect them.

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Pathfinder International
What to Expect Project