School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

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Background: Air pollution has been linked to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) but no studies have evaluated impact of preconception and early pregnancy air pollution exposures on GDM risk.

Methods: Electronic medical records provided data on 219,952 singleton deliveries to mothers with (n=11,334) and without GDM (n=208,618). Average maternal exposures to particulate matter (PM) ≤ 2.5μm (PM2.5) and PM2.5 constituents, PM ≤ 10μm (PM10), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ozone (O3) were estimated for the 3-month preconception window, first trimester, and gestational weeks 1-24 based on modified Community Multiscale Air Quality models for delivery hospital referral regions. Binary regression models with robust standard errors estimated relative risks (RR) for GDM per interquartile range (IQR) increase in pollutant concentrations adjusted for study site, maternal age and race/ethnicity.

Results: Preconception maternal exposure to NOX (RR=1.09, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.13) and SO2 (RR=1.05, 1.01, 1.09) were associated with increased risk of subsequent GDM and risk estimates remained elevated for first trimester exposure. Preconception O3 was associated with lower risk of subsequent GDM (RR=0.93, 0.90, 0.96) but risks increased later in pregnancy.

Conclusion: Maternal exposures to NOx and SO2 preconception and during the first few weeks of pregnancy were associated with increased GDM risk. O3 appeared to increase GDM risk in association with mid-pregnancy exposure but not in earlier time windows. These common exposures merit further investigation.


Publication Title

Environmental Research



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Mentor/PI Department

Population Health and Biostatistics



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