Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




Growing empirical evidence documents the potential risk of extreme heat exposure to pregnant individuals. These risks include adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Climate change will exacerbate extreme heat exposures to a large portion of the global population, and pregnant individuals need to understand the risks and protective measures needed. Maternal health workers are a key mechanism for conveying this information to pregnant individuals. The authors assess a training of maternal health workers in El Paso, Texas, through two research instruments. First, eight maternal health workers completed an educational workshop and consented to participation; pre- and post-test workshop data are reported. Second, and subsequent to the workshop, a focus group was undertaken with six maternal health workers; directed content analysis was used to synthesize and report patterns from this qualitative data. Assessments indicated that a training session can improve provider knowledge of maternal heat–health risks and can encourage providers to discuss heat risks with patients/clients. This pilot project offered an approach to raise awareness of extreme heat among maternal health workers. The authors encourage the development of similar trainings in other communities to improve the safety of pregnant individuals in warm regions and areas experiencing extreme heat.