Randomized Controlled Ethanol Cookstove Intervention and Blood Pressure in Pregnant Nigerian Women

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2017 Jun 15;195(12):1629-1639. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201606-1177OC.


Rationale: Hypertension during pregnancy is a leading cause of maternal mortality. Exposure to household air pollution elevates blood pressure (BP).

Objectives: To investigate the ability of a clean cookstove intervention to lower BP during pregnancy.

Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in Nigeria. Pregnant women cooking with kerosene or firewood were randomly assigned to an ethanol arm (n = 162) or a control arm (n = 162). BP measurements were taken during six antenatal visits. In the primary analysis, we compared ethanol users with control subjects. In subgroup analyses, we compared baseline kerosene users assigned to the intervention with kerosene control subjects and compared baseline firewood users assigned to ethanol with firewood control subjects.

Measurements and main results: The change in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) over time was significantly different between ethanol users and control subjects (P = 0.040); systolic blood pressure (SBP) did not differ (P = 0.86). In subgroup analyses, there was no significant intervention effect for SBP; a significant difference for DBP (P = 0.031) existed among preintervention kerosene users. At the last visit, mean DBP was 2.8 mm Hg higher in control subjects than in ethanol users (3.6 mm Hg greater in control subjects than in ethanol users among preintervention kerosene users), and 6.4% of control subjects were hypertensive (SBP ≥140 and/or DBP ≥90 mm Hg) versus 1.9% of ethanol users (P = 0.051). Among preintervention kerosene users, 8.8% of control subjects were hypertensive compared with 1.8% of ethanol users (P = 0.029).

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first cookstove randomized controlled trial examining prenatal BP. Ethanol cookstoves have potential to reduce DBP and hypertension during pregnancy. Accordingly, clean cooking fuels may reduce adverse health impacts associated with household air pollution. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02394574).

Keywords: blood pressure; ethanol cookstove intervention; household air pollution; hypertension; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cooking / instrumentation*
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Ethanol*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Kerosene / adverse effects
  • Nigeria
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / prevention & control*
  • Wood / adverse effects


  • Kerosene
  • Ethanol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02394574