Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Background Various epidemiological studies have suggested associations between environmental exposures and pregnancy outcomes. Some studies have tempted to combine information from various epidemiological studies using meta-analysis. We aimed to describe the methodologies used in these recent meta-analyses of environmental exposures and pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, we aimed to report their main findings. Methods We conducted a bibliographic search with relevant search terms. We obtained and evaluated 16 recent meta-analyses. Results The number of studies included in each reported meta-analysis varied greatly, with the largest number of studies available for environmental tobacco smoke. Only a small number of the studies reported having followed meta-analysis guidelines or having used a quality rating system. Generally they tested for heterogeneity and publication bias. Publication bias did not occur frequently. The meta-analyses found statistically significant negative associations between environmental tobacco smoke and stillbirth, birth weight and any congenital anomalies; PM2.5 and preterm birth; outdoor air pollution and some congenital anomalies; indoor air pollution from solid fuel use and stillbirth and birth weight; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) exposure and birth weight; disinfection by-products in water and stillbirth, small for gestational age and some congenital anomalies; occupational exposure to pesticides and solvents and some congenital anomalies; and agent orange and some congenital anomalies. Conclusions The number of meta-analyses of environmental exposures and pregnancy outcomes is small and they vary in methodology. They reported statistically significant associations between environmental exposures such as environmental tobacco smoke, air pollution and chemicals and pregnancy outcomes.

School/Institute

Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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