Maternal exposure to low levels of ambient air pollution and preterm birth in Brisbane, Australia

C. Hansen, A. Neller, G. Williams, R. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is evidence that maternal exposure to ambient air pollution during pregnancy is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Objective: To assess preterm birth (PTB) in relation to maternal exposure to ambient air pollution. Design: Retrospective cohort. Setting: Brisbane, Australia. Sample: A total of 28 200 singleton live births for the period of 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2003. Methods: Average maternal exposure estimates for ambient paniculate matter (PM10 and bsp), ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide were calculated over the first 3 months after last menstrual period (LMP) and the last 3 months prior to birth (individually and combined as trimesters). Main outcome measures: PTB was defined as gestation <37 weeks and odds ratios (OR) were calculated for PTB per interquartile range increase in the maternal exposure estimate for each pollutant. Various covariates were controlled for, including season of birth. Results: Exposure to PM10 and O 3 during trimester one was associated with an increased risk of PTB (OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.06-1.25 and OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.10-1.45, respectively). The PM10 exposure effect associated with trimester one was strongly related to exposure during the first month post-LMP (PM10, month one; OR = 1.19, 95% CI 1.13-1.26). Conclusion: These results suggest that maternal exposure to low levels of ambient air pollution is associated with PTB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-941
Number of pages7
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Pregnancy
  • Preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Cite this