Extreme temperature increases the risk of stillbirth in the third trimester of pregnancy

Author: Hsiao-Yu Yang, Jason Wai Wei Lee, Chia-Pin Chio

Year: 2022

Published in: Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 18474 (2022)

Epidemiological studies have reported the association between extreme temperatures and adverse reproductive effects. However, the susceptible period of exposure during pregnancy remains unclear. This study aimed to assess the impact of extreme temperature on the stillbirth rate. We performed a time-series analysis to explore the associations between temperature and stillbirth with a distributed lag nonlinear model. A total of 22,769 stillbirths in Taiwan between 2009 and 2018 were enrolled. The mean stillbirth rate was 11.3 ± 1.4 per 1000 births. The relative risk of stillbirth due to exposure to extreme heat temperature (> 29 °C) was 1.18 (95% CI 1.11, 1.25). Pregnant women in the third trimester were most susceptible to the effects of extreme cold and heat temperatures. At lag of 0–3 months, the cumulative relative risk (CRR) of stillbirth for exposure to extreme heat temperature (29.8 °C, 97.5th percentile of temperature) relative to the optimal temperature (21 °C) was 2.49 (95% CI: 1.24, 5.03), and the CRR of stillbirth for exposure to extreme low temperature (16.5 °C, 1st percentile) was 1.29 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.80). The stillbirth rate in Taiwan is on the rise. Our findings inform public health interventions to manage the health impacts of climate change.