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Epidemiology. 2016 Jan;27(1):66-73. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000366.

Fine Particulates, Preterm Birth, and Membrane Rupture in Rochester, NY.

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From the aCenter for Perinatal Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT; bDepartment of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY; and cSchool of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT.



It remains unclear whether fine particulate (PM2.5) exposure affects risk of preterm birth and prelabor rupture of membranes. Unmeasured, poorly measured, and undiscovered individual-level confounders might have introduced bias into past studies that relied on between-women comparisons.


This was a longitudinal study of preterm birth and prelabor rupture of membranes in Rochester, NY, 2004-2012 (N = 3,264 women, N = 7,121 singleton births). We used conditional logistic regression to match pregnancies to the same woman and estimate the odds of each outcome associated with average PM2.5 concentrations during each trimester and whole pregnancy.


For preterm birth, adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for 1 μg/m increase in PM2.5 in the first trimester, second trimester, third trimester, and whole pregnancy were 1.11 (1.04, 1.18), 1.09 (1.02, 1.16), 1.06 (1.00, 1.13), and 1.17 (1.07, 1.28), respectively. For prelabor rupture of membranes, corresponding odds ratios were 1.00 (0.97, 1.04), 0.99 (0.96, 1.02), 0.99 (0.96, 1.03), and 0.99 (0.94, 1.04), respectively.


Risk of preterm birth was greater for pregnancies with elevated PM2.5 exposure than other pregnancies to the same women at lower exposure. We did not observe an association between PM2.5 concentrations and prelabor rupture of membranes.

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