Ambient temperature and markers of fetal growth: A retrospective observational study of 29 million U.S. singleton births

Shengzhi Sun, Keith R. Spangler, Kate R. Weinberger, Jeff D. Yanosky, Joseph M. Braun, Gregory A. Wellenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Emerging studies suggest that ambient temperature during pregnancy may be associated with fetal growth, but the existing evidence is limited and inconsistent. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate the association of trimester-specific temperature with risk of being born small for gestational age (SGA) and birth weight—markers of fetal growth—among term births in the contiguous United States. METHODS: We included data on 29,597,735 live singleton births between 1989 and 2002 across 403 U.S. counties. We estimated daily county-level population-weighted mean temperature using a spatially refined gridded climate data set. We used logistic regression to estimate the association between trimester-specific temperature and risk of SGA and linear regression to evaluate the association between trimester-specific temperature and term birth weight z-score, adjusting for parity, maternal demographics, smoking or drinking during pregnancy, chronic hypertension, and year and month of conception. We then pooled results overall and by geographic regions and climate zones. RESULTS: High ambient temperatures (>90th percentile) during the entire pregnancy were associated with higher risk of term SGA {odds ratio [OR] = 1.041 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.029, 1.054]} and lower term birth weight [standardized to −15 g (95% CI: −17 g, −13 g) reduction in birth weight for infants born at 40 weeks of gestation]. Low temperatures (≤10th percentile) during the entire pregnancy were not associated with SGA [OR = 1.003 (95% CI: 0.991, 1.015)] but were associated with a small decrement in term birth weight [standardized to −6 g (95% CI: −8 g, −4 g)]. Risks of term SGA and birth weight were more strongly associated with temperature averaged across the second and third trimesters, in areas the Northeast, and in areas with cold or very cold climates. CONCLUSIONS: Above-average temperatures during pregnancy were associated with lower fetal growth. Our findings provide evidence that temperature may be a novel risk factor for reduced fetal growth. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP4648.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number067005
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume127
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ambient temperature and markers of fetal growth: A retrospective observational study of 29 million U.S. singleton births'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this