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Maternal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis


A growing body of evidence has investigated the association between maternal exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter 2.5 μm) during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, the results of those studies are not consistent. To synthetically quantify the relationship between maternal exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes (the change in birth weight, low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), small for gestational age (SGA), and stillbirth), a meta-analysis of 25 published observational epidemiological studies that met our selection criteria was conducted. Results suggested a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was positively associated with LBW (odds ratio (OR) = 1.05; 95 % confidence interval (CI), 1.02–1.07), PTB (OR = 1.10; 95 % CI, 1.03–1.18), and SGA (OR = 1.15; 95 % CI, 1.10–1.20) based on entire pregnancy exposure, and pooled estimate of decrease in birth weight was 14.58 g (95 % CI, 9.86–19.31); however, there was no evidence of a statistically significant effect of per 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 exposure on the risk of stillbirth (OR = 1.18; 95 % CI, 0.69–2.04). With respect to three different gestation periods, no significant risks were found in PTB, stillbirth, and the first trimester on the change of birth weight with a 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5. In this study, a comprehensive quantitative analysis of the results show that PM2.5 can increase the risk of LBW, PTB, and SGA; pregnant women need to take effective measures to reduce PM2.5 exposure.

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This work received grant from the Science Research Fund of Anhui Province (090413265X). We would like to thank all participants in our study, and also the reviewers and editors for their work.

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No conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Jiyu Cao.

Additional information

Xiaoxia Zhu and Ying Liu contributed equally to this work.

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Zhu, X., Liu, Y., Chen, Y. et al. Maternal exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 3383–3396 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-014-3458-7

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  • LBW
  • Meta-analysis
  • PM2.5
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • PTB
  • SGA