Prenatal Exposure to Antibiotics and Timing of Puberty in Sons and Daughters: A Population-Based Cohort Study

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Objective: To investigate if prenatal exposure to antibiotics is associated with earlier timing of pubertal development in sons and daughters. Study design: This population-based cohort study is based upon the Puberty Cohort and includes a sample of 15,638 children born 2000–2003 in Denmark. Information on maternal use of antibiotics was collected around gestational week 30 and 6 months postpartum. The children were followed-up half-yearly from 11 years of age and throughout sexual maturation providing information on Tanner stages, acne and axillary hair, in addition to voice break and first ejaculation in sons and menarche in daughters. Due to the half-yearly collection of data on pubertal timing, the data was censored and therefore analysed using a multivariable censored time-to-event regression model. We examined both prenatal exposure to antibiotics at any time in pregnancy and trimester-specific prenatal exposure to antibiotics and pubertal timing, adjusting for maternal baseline socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics. Mean age differences for the pubertal milestones between exposure groups were estimated. A combined estimate for overall pubertal timing was calculated based on combining all pubertal milestones into one model for sons and daughters, using Huber-White robust variance estimation which handles the risk of type 1 errors due to multiple testing of correlated outcomes. An active comparator approach with restriction to women reporting to have a urinary tract infection (cystitis) treated with either penicillin or sulfonamides was employed in a sub-analysis. Results: The prevalence of any maternal use of antibiotics in pregnancy was 21.1 %. There was no association between prenatal exposure to antibiotics and timing of pubertal development for the individual milestones. The adjusted combined estimate for pubertal timing in sons prenatally exposed to antibiotics at any point in pregnancy was −0.4 (95 % confidence interval (CI): −1.2; 0.4) months compared to unexposed sons. The adjusted combined estimate for pubertal timing in daughters prenatally exposed to antibiotics at any point in pregnancy was −0.1 (95 % CI: −0.9; 0.7) months compared to unexposed daughters. Both the trimester-specific analyses and the active comparator analysis revealed similar results. Conclusion: Prenatal exposure to antibiotics was not associated with pubertal timing.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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