Document Type



Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Health Economics



Publication Date



We provide the first estimates of the impacts of prenatal exposure to extreme temperatures on infant health at birth using the latest national birth data from 2009 to 2018 from all U.S. states. We consistently find that an additional day with mean temperature greater than 80°F or less than 10°F increases preterm births and low birthweight. Strikingly, the adverse effects are borne disproportionately by Black and Hispanic mothers, suggesting that the projected increase in extreme temperatures may further exacerbate the existing birth health disparities across different race/ethnicity groups. We also contribute by investigating the impact of deviations from the normal weather pattern, to identify the extreme weather events after accounting for the adaptation response. We find that prenatal exposure to extreme heat two standard deviations above county's historic average induces preterm births and NICU admissions, particularly for mothers whose pregnancies overlap with summer months. These results are timely and policy relevant, considering the recent weather trends with rising temperatures and frequent extreme weather events.