Five Ways To Improve Maternal Health by Addressing the Climate Crisis

A pregnant person wearing a blue dress holds their belly. Only the middle part of their body is visible. They are standing in a forest. Helena Lopes/Pexels

Climate change can impact maternal health by increasing the risk of preterm birth and pregnancy-related complications and worsening maternal mental health. Furthermore, the situation is even more dire in a country like the United States where the maternal mortality rate is already high, especially for Black women and other women of color. As such, it is important that federal and state policymakers ensure that pregnant and postpartum people in climate-affected areas have the support that they need, ensure that people have quality housing and local infrastructure, develop a national heat vulnerability index, expand access to maternal telehealth services, and improve access to contraceptives.

“Climate change will undoubtedly exacerbate the existing maternal health crisis and pose serious health risks to pregnant and postpartum people and their infants. For that reason, federal and state policymakers must take urgent action by targeting resources to where they are needed most, developing more robust data standards related to climate and maternal health, and expanding access to maternal health services through telehealth as well as reproductive health care services, including contraceptives.”