- A recent study by the White Ribbon Alliance reveals the challenges faced by pregnant women in Pakistan due to severe heat, leading to issues like fainting, dehydration, and nausea.
- Pregnant women are disproportionately affected by climate-driven heatwaves, increasing the risks of stillbirth, preterm birth, and maternal hypertension.
- Pakistan’s climate adaptation plan needs revisions to empower pregnant women, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to protect pregnancy health amid rising temperatures.
A recent study by the White Ribbon Alliance offers a comprehensive account of the increasing difficulties confronted by pregnant and postpartum women enduring severe heat in Pakistan. The symptoms include fainting, dehydration, and nausea.
The White Ribbon Alliance, a non-governmental organization dedicated to advocating rights of pregnant women and partum and post-partum health has conducted interviews in Sindh Province, Pakistan. The study focuses on the consequences of increasing global temperatures and how it is affecting the women who are in suffering the wrath of the extreme climate.
As the perilous consequences of climate-driven heatwaves, such as the one that struck Sindh in 2022, gain increasing recognition, the specific adversities faced by pregnant women have often been marginalized despite their profound implications. These include heightened risks of stillbirth, preterm birth, and maternal hypertension.
Broad Impact on Sexual and Reproductive Health
More generally, extreme heat fuels feminized poverty and has an impact on other aspects of sexual and reproductive health, such as pregnancy impacts on mental health.
Challenges Faced by Pregnant Women in Pakistan
- Heat-Related Health Issues Women described fainting, being hospitalized with dehydration, or being otherwise sickened by heat while pregnant.
- Impact on Fetal Health One woman worried the blazing heat prompted her fetus to move less but, like others, she had no choice but to continue working, which generates even more heat for the overtaxed body.
- Struggles with Basic Functions These women described struggles with eating and sleeping, contributing to poor moods, and difficulties breastfeeding due to the heat.
- Desperate Conditions Some women described exhausted despair while hand-fanning hot and uncomfortable babies’ hour after hour without electricity to run a fan.
Enhancing Pakistan’s Climate Adaptation Plan
While Pakistan’s new climate adaptation plan emphasizes the necessity of concentrating support efforts on the most affected communities, it should undergo revisions to incorporate specific measures that empower pregnant women to make informed choices regarding their preparations for an increasingly uncertain future.
The Imperative to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The report underscores the critical need to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the scope of fossil fuel operations. There are limitations to how much we can adapt to mounting temperatures while safeguarding pregnancy health.