Maternal genitourinary infections and the risk of gastroschisis

Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Sep 1;180(5):518-25. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu157. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Genitourinary infections (GUIs) have been associated with increased risk of gastroschisis in 2 studies. Using data collected in the Slone Epidemiology Center Birth Defects Study, we examined the association between GUI and gastroschisis. From 1998 to 2010, mothers of 249 gastroschisis cases and 7,104 controls were interviewed within 6 months of delivery about pregnancy events, including vaginal infections, genital herpes, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Women were considered exposed if they reported at least 1 instance of a GUI in the first trimester. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Women who reported having any GUI had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.8 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3, 2.4). The highest risk was seen among women who reported a UTI only (adjusted odds ratio = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.5, 3.5), while the odds ratio for an STD only was slightly elevated (adjusted odds ratio = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0, 1.5). Among women under 25 years of age, the odds ratio for UTI only was 2.6 (95% CI: 1.7, 4.0), and among older women it was 1.8 (95% CI: 0.6, 5.9). When we considered the joint association of UTIs and young maternal age, a synergistic effect was observed. The results of this study add further evidence that UTIs may increase the risk of gastroschisis.

Keywords: birth defects; congenital abnormalities; gastroschisis; infection; sexually transmitted diseases; urinary tract infections.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gastroschisis / epidemiology
  • Gastroschisis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / complications*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / complications*
  • Young Adult