Blood Lead Concentrations and Pregnancy Outcomes

Maryfran Sowers, Mary Jannausch, Theresa Scholl, Wenjie Li, Francis W. Kemp, John D. Bogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


In this study, the authors related blood lead concentrations to Apgar scores, birth weight, gestational age, small-for-gestational age, and hypertension in pregnancy (HIP)/toxemia. Data and blood were collected 4 times during pregnancy from 705 women, aged 12–34 yr. Blood lead concentrations, measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, were related to reproductive outcomes, abstracted from medical records. Average blood lead concentrations were 1.2 μg/dl (standard error = ± 0.03). Maternal blood lead concentrations were related significantly to HIP/toxemia—before and after adjusting for age, calcium intake, and race/ethnicity (p <.03). Longitudinal regression analyses revealed that blood lead concentrations in women with HIP/toxemia changed by 0.02 μg/dl for every 0.01 μg/dl change in women without HIP/toxemia. Maternal blood lead concentration and its change were not significantly associated with other reproductive outcomes. Low levels of maternal blood lead concentrations were significantly associated with HIP/toxemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-495
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Environmental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Blood pressure
  • Hypertension in pregnancy
  • Lead
  • Pregnancy
  • Toxemia


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