Housing conditions and birth outcomes: The National Child Development Study

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Abstract

Background:

Despite their importance to respiratory and other health outcomes, housing conditions have been little-studied with respect to perinatal outcomes.

Methods:

1927 participants in the British National Child Development Study reported on housing conditions and pregnancy outcomes, including presence/severity of mold/dampness; type of heating; and whether remodeling of various sorts had been conducted. Crowding, based on the number of people in the residence and the number of rooms, was also considered. Outcomes assessed were low birthweight (< 2500 g), preterm birth (< 37 weeks), and small-for-gestational-age (< 10th percentile for gestational age). Multiple logistic regression with adjustment for maternal, sociodemographic, and housing factors was conducted.

Results:

Women who reported serious problems with mold were more likely to give birth to a low birthweight (adjusted OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.13–3.47) or small-for-gestational-age (2.06, 1.25–3.38) baby; no consistent associations were seen with preterm birth. Crowding was associated only with small-for-gestational-age (1.73, 1.11–2.76).

Conclusions:

Exposure to mold or dampness, and housing conditions generally, is a potentially important but under-investigated aspect of women's lives during pregnancy. Future studies should more thoroughly investigate housing characteristics and their relationship with birth outcomes.

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