oa South African Medical Journal - Will global warming undo the hard-won gains of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV? - guest editorial

Volume 109 Number 5
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



During pregnancy, women have a markedly diminished ability to tolerate heat stress. Increased internal heat production due to fetal growth and metabolism occurs alongside a reduced capacity to dissipate heat, stemming from fat deposition and a decreased ratio of body surface area to body mass. Heat intolerance of pregnant women is exacerbated by rises in ambient temperature, particularly during heatwaves. By implication, pregnant women and developing fetuses may be especially susceptible to the unfolding impacts of global warming. Globally temperatures are already rising, and future increments in southern Africa are expected to be twice the global rate.

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