Pregnancy characteristics and maternal risk of breast cancer

Epidemiology. 1998 Nov;9(6):641-7.


In a population-based case-control study of parous women less than 45 years of age, we evaluated the relations of various pregnancy characteristics to maternal breast cancer risk. Cases (N = 1,239) diagnosed with in situ or invasive breast cancer from 1990 to 1992 in Atlanta, GA, Seattle/Puget Sound, WA, and five counties in central New Jersey, and population controls (N = 1,166) identified by random-digit dialing, were interviewed regarding the details of their pregnancies. We used logistic regression to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) and to adjust for breast cancer risk factors. Women who reported nausea or vomiting in their first pregnancy had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer (RR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.72-1.0). We found no strong or consistent associations for maternal risk related to gestational length, pregnancy weight gain, gestational diabetes, pregnancy hypertension, or gender of the offspring, although we found some evidence for reductions in risk for toxemia (RR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.61-1.1) and specific sex (RR for female twins vs singletons = 0.48; 95% CI = 0.20-1.3) and timing characteristics of twinning. Overall, these data provide little support for the hypothesis that pregnancy hormone levels are associated with subsequent maternal risk of breast cancer in young women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Proteins / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain


  • Pregnancy Proteins