Study question: Are maternal and paternal preconception urinary bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS) concentrations associated with offspring birth size?
Summary answer: Maternal-but not paternal-preconception urinary BPA concentrations were associated with lower birth size among couples seeking fertility evaluation.
What is known already: Prenatal BPA exposure has been previously associated with reduced birth size in some but not all epidemiologic studies. However, the potential effect of BPA exposure before conception in either parent is unknown. Data on BPS is practically absent.
Study design, size, duration: Ongoing prospective preconception cohort of women and men seeking fertility evaluation between 2005 and 2016 in a large fertility center in an academic hospital in Boston, MA, USA.
Participants/materials, setting, methods: We examined the association between maternal and paternal preconception, as well as maternal prenatal urinary BPA and BPS concentrations, and size at birth among 346 singletons from couples recruited in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study using multivariable linear regression. Infant birth weight and head circumference were abstracted from delivery records. Mean preconception and prenatal exposures were estimated by averaging urinary ln-BPA and ln-BPS concentrations in multiple maternal and paternal urine samples collected before pregnancy, and maternal pregnancy samples collected in each trimester.
Main results and the role of chance: Maternal preconception urinary BPA concentrations were inversely associated with birth weight and head circumference in adjusted models: each ln-unit increase was associated with a decrease in birth weight of 119 g (95% CI: -212, -27), and a head circumference decrease of 0.72 cm (95% CI: -1.3, -0.1). Additional adjustment by gestational age or prenatal BPA exposure modestly attenuated results. Women with higher prenatal BPA concentrations had infants with lower mean birth weight (-75 g, 95% CI: -153, 2) although this did not achieve statistical significance. Paternal preconception urinary BPA concentrations were not associated with either birth weight or head circumference. No consistent patterns emerged for BPS concentrations measured in either parent.
Limitations, reasons for caution: We observed a strong negative association between maternal-but not paternal-preconception BPA concentrations and offspring birth size among a subfertile population. Although these results are overall consistent with prior studies on prenatal BPA exposure, these findings may not be generalizable to women without fertility concerns.
Wider implications of the findings: This study suggests that the unexplored maternal preconception period may be a sensitive window for BPA effects on birth outcomes.
Study funding/competing interest(s): Work supported by Grants (ES R01 009718, ES 022955 and ES 000002) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). C.M. was supported by a post-doctoral fellowship award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. There are no competing interests to declare.
Keywords: ART; birth weight; bisphenol A; bisphenol S; endocrine disrupting chemicals; head circumference; subfertile couples.
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