Prenatal phthalate exposure and infant size at birth and gestational duration

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Abstract

Background

Phthalate exposure is widespread. Prior research suggests that prenatal phthalate exposure may influence birth size and gestational duration, but published results have been inconsistent.

Objective

We quantified the relationship between maternal urinary phthalate concentrations and infant birth weight z-scores, length, head circumference, and gestational duration.

Methods

In a cohort of 368 women from the HOME Study, based in Cincinnati, OH, we measured nine phthalate metabolites representing exposure to six parent phthalate diesters in urine collected at approximately 16 and 26 weeks gestation. Infant birth size and gestational duration were abstracted from medical records. We used multivariable linear regression to estimate covariate adjusted associations between urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and infant outcomes.

Results

In unadjusted models, we observed a negative association between monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and birth weight z-scores, while mono-3-carboxypropyl phthalate (MCPP) was positively associated with gestational duration. After covariate adjustment, phthalate metabolite concentrations were no longer associated with birth size or gestational duration.

Conclusions

In this cohort, urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations during pregnancy were not associated with infant birth size or gestational duration. Additional research is needed to determine if exposures during earlier periods of fetal development are associated with infant health.

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