Title: Using remote sensing to study in utero health shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa
Abstract: Remotely sensed data in combination with georeferenced survey data can be used to investigate the impact of environment and infectious diseases on pregnancy outcomes. In this presentation, I will highlight how we can examine the impacts of in utero exposure to climate and malarious conditions on a wide range of birth outcomes (from healthy live births to fetal loss in the first trimester). We use detailed reproductive data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (more than 65,000 pregnancies, from 23 surveys across 15 African countries) in combination with fine-scale climate data. We find that when a woman is exposed to a higher proportion of hot days during pregnancy, the probability of a miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight increases as compared to healthy live birth. No comparable relationship is observed with regard to precipitation. The preliminary findings regarding the impact of exposure to malarious conditions indicate that impact is context specific.