Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Mixture during Pregnancy and Postpartum Weight Retention in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study (NHBCS)
By Yuting Wang, Caitlin Howe, Lisa G. Gallagher, Julianne Cook Botelho, Antonia M. Calafat, Margaret R. Karagas, and Megan E. Romano
May 10, 2023
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), widely used in industrial and consumer products, are suspected metabolic disruptors. We examined the association between a PFAS mixture during pregnancy and postpartum weight retention in 482 participants from the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study. PFAS concentrations, including perfluorohexane sulfonate, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorononanoate (PFNA), and perfluorodecanoate, were quantified in maternal plasma collected at ~28 gestational weeks. Postpartum weight change was calculated as the difference between self-reported weight from a postpartum survey administered in 2020 and pre-pregnancy weight abstracted from medical records. Associations between PFAS and postpartum weight change were examined using Bayesian kernel machine regression and multivariable linear regression, adjusting for demographic, reproductive, dietary, and physical activity factors; gestational week of blood sample collection; and enrollment year. PFOS, PFOA, and PFNA were positively associated with postpartum weight retention, and associations were stronger among participants with a higher pre-pregnancy body mass index. A doubling of PFOS, PFOA, and PFNA concentrations was associated with a 1.76 kg (95%CI: 0.31, 3.22), 1.39 kg (−0.27, 3.04), and 1.04 kg (−0.19, 2.28) greater postpartum weight retention, respectively, among participants who had obesity/overweight prior to pregnancy. Prenatal PFAS exposure may be associated with increased postpartum weight retention.