A feasibility study of the use of UmbiFlow™ to assess the impact of heat stress on fetoplacental blood flow in field studies

Ana Bonell, Valerie Vannevel, Bakary Sonko, Nuredin Mohammed, Ana Vicedo-Cabrera, Andy Haines, Neil Maxwell, Jane Hirst, Andrew Prentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the use of UmbiFlowTM in field settings to assess the
impact of heat stress on umbilical artery resistance index (RI).
Methods: This feasibility study was conducted in West Kiang, The Gambia,
West Africa; a rural area with increasing exposure to extreme heat. We
recruited women with singleton fetuses who performed manual tasks (such as
farming) during pregnancy to an observational cohort study. The umbilical artery
RI was measured at rest, during and at the end of a typical working shift in
women ≥ 28 weeks’ gestation. Adverse pregnancy outcomes (APO) were
classified as stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, or small for gestational
age, and all other outcomes as normal.
Results: A total of 40 participants were included; 23 normal births and 17 APO.
Umbilical artery RI demonstrated a nonlinear relationship to heat stress, with
indication of a potential threshold value for placental insufficiency at 32°C by
Universal Thermal Climate Index and 30°C by Wet Bulb Globe Temperature.
Conclusions: The UmbiflowTM device proved to be an effective field method for
assessing placental function. Dynamic changes in RI may begin to explain the
association between extreme heat and APO with an identified threshold of
effect.
Funding: The Wellcome Trust (216336/Z/19/Z)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: The Wellcome Trust (216336/Z/19/Z)

Keywords

  • heat
  • pregnancy
  • fetoplacental circulation
  • climate change
  • Africa

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