Critical windows of prenatal exposure to cadmium and size at birth

Lu Cheng, Bin Zhang, Tongzhang Zheng, Jie Hu, Aifen Zhou, Bryan A. Bassig, Wei Xia, David A. Savitz, Stephen Buka, Chao Xiong, Joseph M. Braun, Yaqi Zhang, Yanqiu Zhou, Xinyun Pan, Chuansha Wu, Youjie Wang, Zhengmin Qian, Aimin Yang, Megan E. Romano, Kunchong ShiShunqing Xu, Yuanyuan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Prenatal cadmium (Cd) exposure has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, but the findings of previous studies are inconsistent. We measured Cd concentrations in urine samples at or near 13, 24, and 35 gestational weeks from 282 women in Wuhan, China. We used generalized estimating equation models to assess the associations between maternal creatinine adjusted urinary Cd concentrations at each trimester and birth size. A significant inverse association was observed between higher maternal Cd levels measured during the 1st trimester and birth size in girls. For each log unit increase in Cd (µg/g creatinine) levels from the 1st trimester, there was a decrease in birth weight by 116.99 g (95% confidence interval (CI): −208.87, −25.11 g). The Cd levels from the 1st and 2nd trimesters were also borderline significantly associated with ponderal index in girls. Joint estimation of trimester-specific effects suggested that associations with Cd levels for ponderal index (pint = 0.02) were significantly different across trimesters, and differences for effects across trimesters for birth weight were marginally significant (pint = 0.08) in girls. No significant associations were observed between Cd levels from any trimester and birth size in boys. Maternal Cd exposure during earlier periods of pregnancy may have a larger impact on delayed fetal growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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