A prospective study of prepregnancy serum concentrations of perfluorochemicals and the risk of gestational diabetes

Fertil Steril. 2015 Jan;103(1):184-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.10.001. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


Objective: To examine preconception serum concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and six other PFCs in relation to gestational diabetes (GDM) risk.

Design: Prospective cohort with longitudinal follow-up.

Setting: Not applicable.

Patient(s): Among 501 women recruited upon discontinuing contraception for the purpose of becoming pregnant, 258 (51%) became pregnant and were eligible for the study, of which 28 (11%) reported having physician-diagnosed GDM during follow-up.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of GDM associated with each standard deviation (SD) increment of preconception serum PFOA concentration (ng/mL, log-transformed) and six other PFCs were estimated with the use of logistic regression after adjusting for age, prepregnancy body mass index, smoking, and parity conditional on gravidity.

Result(s): Preconception geometric mean (95% CI) PFOA concentrations (in ng/mL) were higher for women with than without GDM (3.94 [3.15-4.93] vs. 3.07 [2.83-3.12], respectively). Each SD increment in PFOA was associated with a 1.87-fold increased GDM risk (adjusted OR 1.86 [95% CI 1.14-3.02]). A slightly increased risk associated with each SD increment for the six other PFCs was observed as well (all ORs >1.0, range 1.06-1.27), although the associations were not statistically significant.

Conclusion(s): Our findings suggested that higher environmentally relevant concentrations of PFOA were significantly associated with an increased risk of GDM. If corroborated, these findings may be suggestive of a possible environmental etiology for GDM.

Keywords: Perfluorochemicals (PFCs); gestational diabetes; perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); pregnancy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas / epidemiology


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons