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Am J Epidemiol. 2004 May 15;159(10):993-1001.

Paternal smoking and pregnancy loss: a prospective study using a biomarker of pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Results of studies on paternal smoking and spontaneous abortions have been inconsistent. The authors examined the effect of paternal smoking on the risk of pregnancy loss in a prospective cohort of 526 newly married, nonsmoking, female textile workers in China between 1996 and 1998. Upon stopping contraception, subjects provided daily urine specimens and records of vaginal bleeding for up to 1 year or until clinical pregnancy. Daily urinary human chorionic gonadotropin was assayed to detect conception and early pregnancy losses, and pregnancies were followed to detect clinical spontaneous abortions. Subjects were grouped by the number of cigarettes that husbands reported smoking daily: nonsmokers (group 1, n = 216), fewer than 20 cigarettes (group 2, n = 239), and 20 or more cigarettes (group 3, n = 71). Compared with that for group 1, the adjusted odds ratio of early pregnancy loss of any conception for group 2 was 1.04 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67, 1.63) and for group 3 was 1.81 (95% CI: 1.00, 3.29). The adjusted hazard ratio of conception for group 2 was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.70, 1.18) and for group 3 was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.66, 1.39), while the adjusted hazard ratio of clinical pregnancy for group 2 was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.72, 1.20) and for group 3 was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.55, 1.12). The authors conclude that heavy paternal smoking increased the risk of early pregnancy loss through maternal and/or paternal exposure.

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