Air pollution and preterm premature rupture of membranes: a spatiotemporal analysis

Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Jan 15;179(2):200-7. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt240. Epub 2013 Oct 14.


Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is the leading identifiable predisposing factor for preterm birth. Although maternal exposure to air pollution can potentially have an impact on preterm PROM, there is no available evidence on such an impact. In this study, based on 5,555 singleton births occurring in Barcelona, Spain (2002-2005), we investigated the associations of maternal exposure to nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters of ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5), 2.5 µm-10 µm, and ≤10 µm and PM2.5 light absorption with preterm PROM and gestational age at the rupture of membranes (ROM). We utilized temporally adjusted land-use regression models to predict pollutant levels at each subject's home address during each week of her pregnancy. We conducted matched (according to the length of exposure) case-control analyses to estimate the preterm PROM risk associated with 1 interquartile-range increase in exposure levels during the entire pregnancy and during the last 3 months prior to ROM. We found an increase in preterm PROM risk of up to 50% (95% confidence interval: 4, 116) and a 1.3-day (95% confidence interval: -1.9, -0.6) reduction in gestational age at ROM associated with PM2.5 absorbance, nitrogen dioxide exposure, and nitrogen oxide exposure during the entire pregnancy and the last 3 months prior to ROM.

Keywords: air pollution; land-use regression; maternal exposure; nitrogen oxides; particulate matter; pregnancy; premature rupture of membranes; preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / chemically induced*
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Social Class
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis