Pilot study of pesticide knowledge, attitudes, and practices among pregnant women in northern Thailand

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Sep 19;9(9):3365-83. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9093365.


An estimated 200,000 children born in Thailand each year are at risk of prenatal exposure to pesticides and associated neurodevelopmental outcomes because of their mothers' agricultural occupations. Children born to non-agricultural workers may also be at risk of exposure from other pathways of maternal pesticide exposure, including exposure through home use, diet, and other environmental media. Pesticide exposure in Thailand has been linked to unsafe practices and beliefs about pesticides. However, limited information exists on pesticide knowledge, attitudes, and practices among pregnant women in Thailand or elsewhere. Obtaining this information is essential to understand the factors associated with prenatal pesticide exposure, identify populations potentially at risk, and ultimately protect pregnant women and their children. We administered surveys to 76 pregnant women in northern Thailand and used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate associations among pesticide-related knowledge, pregnancy trimester, and pesticide use behavior. In this pilot study, lower knowledge score and earliest trimester of pregnancy were marginally (p < 0.1) associated with unsafe practices in the home, but not at work. Women who worked in agriculture or applied pesticides before becoming pregnant, or who had a previous child were significantly (p < 0.05) more likely to engage in unsafe behaviors in the home during their current pregnancy. We preliminarily conclude that increasing pesticide-related knowledge among pregnant women may help promote safe practices and reduce prenatal exposure. Knowledge-based interventions may be most effective when implemented early in pregnancy and targeted to agricultural workers and other sub-populations at risk of pesticide exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Pesticide Residues / toxicity
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand
  • Young Adult


  • Pesticide Residues
  • Pesticides