Baby booties

Couples who want to have a baby often consider their health and the timing of menstrual cycles. But they may want to think about the weather, too.

Barreca: “In the context of climate change, more hot weather is going to hinder people’s ability to have the family size that’s right for them.”

That’s Alan Barreca of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He found for every day with an average temperature over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, more than one thousand fewer babies are born in the U.S.

Once it cools off, birth rates rebound, but not enough to make up for the reduction in birth rates associated with heat waves.

Barreca says the problem is caused by hot weather before the time of conception. Animal studies show that sperm production falls in the weeks after a hot spell, so he speculates that high temperatures are affecting male fertility.

Barreca: “What is happening is the hot weather is derailing people physiologically, and two weeks later, when they go and actually try and conceive, they’re unsuccessful.”

Air conditioning uses energy, which ultimately leads to more global warming. But the research indicates that turning on the AC may help increase the chances of welcoming a new baby to the family.

Reporting credit: Elizabeth LoGuidice/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Health