NYMC Faculty Publications

Climate Change: Overview of Risks to Pregnant Persons and Their Offspring

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Seminars in Perinatology

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Climate change is one of the greatest challenges confronting humanity. Pregnant persons, their unborn children, and offspring are particularly vulnerable, as evidenced by adverse perinatal outcomes and increased rates of childhood illnesses. Environmental inequities compound the problem of maternal health inequities, and have given rise to the environmental justice movement. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and other major medical societies have worked to heighten awareness and address the deleterious health effects of climate change and toxic environmental exposures. As part of routine prenatal, neonatal, and pediatric care, neonatal-perinatal care providers should incorporate discussions with their patients and families on potential harms and also identify actions to mitigate climate change effects on their health. This article provides clinicians with an overview of how climate change affects their patients, practical guidance in caring for them, and a frame setting of the articles to follow. Clinicians have a critical role to play, and the time to act is now.