The Effects of Precipitation and Temperature on Birth Weight: A Cross-Sectional Study from the Republic of Benin

  •  Mariam Tanou    
  •  Takaaki Kishida    
  •  Yusuke Kamiya    


Climate change, particularly changes in temperature and precipitation, prevents the improvement of maternal and neonatal health (MNH) in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Pregnant women and newborns in LMICs are considered the most vulnerable to adverse climate conditions, including extreme heat, floods, and droughts. This study examined the effects of precipitation and temperature on birth weight in the Republic of Benin, emphasizing climatic differences between the southern and northern regions. As a cross-sectional study, we pooled four rounds of Benin Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) data, identifying 19 646 live births. We investigated the effects of precipitation and temperature on birth weight and the likelihood of low birth weight (LBW) newborns using multivariate multilevel linear and logistic regression models. We found that the average precipitation amount during the nine months before birth was positively correlated with higher birth weight in the south and was associated with a lower likelihood of LBW in the north. During the nine months before birth, a heat wave reduced birth weight by 57.0 g in the north. Furthermore, women and newborns in the north were more susceptible to precipitation and temperature, possibly due to food insecurity. Evaluating the MNH consequences of climate change is imperative for many developing countries facing severe climate change threats. Our findings provide an essential benchmark for future policies in Benin.

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