Maternal serum levels of perfluoroalkyl substances in early pregnancy and offspring birth weight

By Sverre Wikström, Ping-I Lin, Christian Lindh, Huan Shu, and Carl-Gustaf Bornehag
Pediatr Res.
December 26, 2019
DOI: 10.1038/s41390-019-0720-1


Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are widespread, bioaccumulating, and persistent and show placental transfer. Emerging research indicates associations between prenatal exposure and low birth weight. The aim of this study was to assess the associations between first trimester exposure to PFASs and birth weight (BW) in the Swedish Environmental, Longitudinal, Mother and child, Asthma and allergy (SELMA) study and examine whether associations differ between girls and boys.


Eight PFASs were analyzed in maternal serum (median: 10 weeks of pregnancy). Associations between prenatal PFAS exposure and birth outcomes with BW, BW for gestational age, and birth small for gestational age (SGA) were assessed in 1533 infants, adjusted for potential confounders and stratified by sex.


Increased maternal perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) were associated with lower BW, lower BW for gestational age, and SGA birth. Associations were significant only in girls, where prenatal exposure in the upper quartile was associated with a 93-142-g lower BW when compared with that of the lowest quartile exposure. The associations were not mediated by effects on gestational age.


We found associations between prenatal exposure for five different PFASs and birth weight, with more pronounced associations in girls than in boys.

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