Cathrine Carlsen Bach

Conditioning on Parity in Studies of Perfluoroalkyl Acids and Time to Pregnancy: An Example from the Danish National Birth Cohort

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have investigated the associations between perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in women and time to pregnancy (TTP). Inconsistent results may be explained by differences in conditioning on parity.

OBJECTIVES: We used causal directed acyclic graphs to illustrate potential confounding related to previous pregnancies and exposure measurement error due to differences in the interpregnancy interval in pregnancy-based studies that include parous women. We exemplified the potential importance of these issues using data from the Danish National Birth Cohort.

METHODS: We used discrete time survival models to estimate associations between maternal plasma PFAAs in early pregnancy and TTP in 638 nulliparous and 613 parous women.

RESULTS: PFAA quartiles were not associated with the TTP in nulliparous women. In parous women, higher PFAA quartiles were associated with longer TTP. The strongest associations were estimated for perfluorohexane sulfonate and perfluorooctane sulfonate. PFAA concentrations were higher in women with longer interpregnancy intervals. Accounting for the interpregnancy interval attenuated the estimated associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Associations between PFAAs and TTP in parous women may be biased by confounders related to previous pregnancies and exposure measurement error. To avoid these biases, studies that include parous women may need to condition on a) common causes of PFAAs and the TTP in the index pregnancy, b) previous births (a descendant of a collider), c) PFAA levels or common causes of PFAA levels and the TTP in the previous pregnancy (to alleviate collider stratification bias caused by conditioning on previous births), and d) the interpregnancy interval (in pregnancy-based studies). Alternatives would be to restrict studies to nulliparous women or to use toxicokinetic modeling to correct exposure estimates in parous women. These recommendations may be extended to studies of other chemicals with similar toxicokinetic properties.

TidsskriftEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2018

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