Term birthweight and critical windows of prenatal exposure to average meteorological conditions and meteorological variability

Otana Jakpor, Cécile Chevrier, Itai Kloog, Meriem Benmerad, Lise Giorgis-Allemand, Sylvaine Cordier, Emie Seyve, Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, Rémy Slama, Barbara Heude, Joel Schwartz, Johanna Lepeule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Heat stress during pregnancy may limit fetal growth, with ramifications throughout the life course. However, critical exposure windows are unknown, and effects of meteorological variability have not been investigated. Objectives: We aimed to identify sensitive windows for the associations of mean and variability of temperature and humidity with term birthweight. Methods: We analyzed data from two French mother–child cohorts, EDEN and PELAGIE (n = 4771), recruited in 2002–2006. Temperature exposure was assessed using a satellite-based model with daily 1-km2 resolution, and relative humidity exposure data were obtained from Météo France monitors. Distributed lag models were constructed using weekly means and standard deviation (SD, to quantify variability) from the first 37 gestational weeks. Analyses were then stratified by sex. Results for each exposure were adjusted for the other exposures, gestational age at birth, season and year of conception, cohort and recruitment center, and individual confounders. Results: There was no evidence of association between term birthweight and mean temperature. We identified a critical window in weeks 6–20 for temperature variability (cumulative change in term birthweight of −54.2 g [95% CI: −102, −6] for a 1 °C increase in SD of temperature for each week in that window). Upon stratification by sex of the infant, the relationship remained for boys (weeks 1–21, cumulative change: −125 g [95% CI: −228, −21]). For mean humidity, there was a critical window in weeks 26–37, with a cumulative change of −28 g (95% CI: −49, −7) associated with a 5% increase in humidity for each week. The critical window was longer and had a stronger association in boys (weeks 29–37; −37 g, 95% CI: −63, −11) than girls (week 14; −1.8 g, 95% CI: −3.6, −0.1). Discussion: Weekly temperature variability and mean humidity during critical exposure windows were associated with decreased term birthweight, especially in boys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105847
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Birthweight
  • Critical windows
  • Distributed lag models
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Weather variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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