Background: Preterm birth is a major determinant of adverse health consequences, and early term births are also associated with increased risk of various outcomes. In light of climate change, the effect of ambient temperature on earlier delivery is an important factor to consider. Several studies have focused on associations of ambient air temperature (Ta) on preterm birth, but few have examined associations with early term births. Aims: To investigate the association of prenatal exposure to Ta with preterm birth (<37 completed gestation weeks) and with early-term birth (<39 completed gestation weeks) in a semi-arid climate. Methods: All singleton deliveries at the Soroka Medical Center from the Southern district of Israel, with estimated conception dates between May 1, 2004 and March 31, 2013 (N = 62,547) were linked to prenatal Ta estimates from a spatiotemporally resolved model, with daily 1 km resolution. We used time-dependent Cox regression models with weekly mean Ta throughout gestation, adjusted for calendar month and year of conception, ethnicity, census-level socio-economic status and population density. Results: Ta was positively associated with late preterm birth (31 + 0/7 – 36 + 6/7 weeks), with increased risk in the upper Ta quintile as compared to the third quintile, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.11–1.56. Ta also associated with early term birth (37 + 0/6 – 38 + 6/7), with increased risk in the upper Ta quintile as compared to the third quintile, HR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.13–1.36. Conclusion: Exposure to high ambient temperature during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of preterm and early term birth in southern Israel.
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- Ambient temperature
- Early term
- Preterm birth