Maternal Exposure to Aeroallergens and the Risk of Early Delivery

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Abstract

Background:

Daily changes in aeroallergens during pregnancy could trigger early labor, but few investigations have evaluated this issue. This study aimed to investigate the association between exposure to aeroallergens during the week preceding birth and the risk of early delivery among preterm and term pregnancies.

Methods:

We identified data on 225,234 singleton births that occurred in six large cities in the province of Ontario, Canada, from 2004 to 2011 (April to October) from a birth registry. We obtained daily counts of pollen grains and fungal spores from fixed-site monitoring stations in each city and assigned them to pregnancy period of each birth. Associations between exposure to aeroallergens in the preceding week and risk of delivery among preterm (<37 gestational weeks), early-term (37–38 weeks), and full-term (≥39 weeks) pregnancies were evaluated with Cox regression models, adjusting for maternal characteristics, meteorologic parameters, and air pollution concentrations, and pooled across the six cities.

Results:

The risk of delivery increased by 3% per interquartile range width (IQRw = 22.1 grains/m3) increase in weed pollen the day before birth among early-term (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 1.05) and full-term pregnancies (HR = 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.04). Exposure to fungal spores cumulated over 0 to 2 lagged days was associated with increased risk of delivery among full-term pregnancies only (HR = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.12). We observed no associations among preterm deliveries.

Conclusions:

Increasing concentrations of ambient weed pollen and fungal spores may be associated with earlier delivery among term births.

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