Uranium (U) is a well-recognized hazardous heavy metal with embryotoxicity and fetotoxicity. However, little is known about its association with adverse birth outcomes. We aimed to investigate the potential correlation between prenatal U exposure and birth outcomes. Urine samples of 8500 women were collected before delivery from a birth cohort in Wuhan, China. Concentrations of urinary U and other metals were measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. We used multivariable logistic regressions to evaluate the associations between urinary U concentrations and adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age (SGA). Associations of urinary U concentrations with gestational age, birth weight, and birth length were investigated by linear regressions. The geometric mean of U concentration was 0.03 μg/L. After adjustment for potential confounders, we found each Log2-unit increase in U concentration was associated with a significant decrease in gestational age [adjusted β = -0.32 day; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.44, -0.20] and a significant increased likelihood of PTB (adjusted OR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.29). This birth cohort uncovered an association of maternal exposure to U during pregnancy with decreased gestational age and increased risk of PTB. Our findings reveal an association of maternal exposure to U during pregnancy with decreased gestational age and increased risk of PTB.
Keywords: Adverse birth outcomes; Gestational age; Prenatal exposure; Preterm birth; Uranium.
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