Identifying sensitive windows of prenatal household air pollution on birth weight and infant pneumonia risk to inform future interventions

Seyram Kaali, Darby W. Jack, Mohammed N. Mujtaba, Steven N. Chillrud, Kenneth A. Ae-Ngibise, Patrick L. Kinney, Ellen Boamah Kaali, Chris Gennings, Elena Colicino, Musah Osei, Blair J. Wylie, Oscar Agyei, Ashlinn Quinn, Kwaku Poku Asante, Alison G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Prenatal household air pollution impairs birth weight and increases pneumonia risk however time-varying associations have not been elucidated and may have implications for the timing of public health interventions. Methods: The Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study (GRAPHS) enrolled 1,414 pregnant women from Kintampo, Ghana and measured personal carbon monoxide (CO) exposure four times over pregnancy. Birth weight was measured within 72-hours of birth. Fieldworkers performed weekly pneumonia surveillance and referred sick children to study physicians. The primary pneumonia outcome was one or more physician-diagnosed severe pneumonia episode in the first year of life. We employed reverse distributed lag models to examine time-varying associations between prenatal CO exposure and birth weight and infant pneumonia risk. Results: Analyses included n = 1,196 mother-infant pairs. In models adjusting for child sex; maternal age, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity and parity at enrollment; household wealth index; number of antenatal visits; and evidence of placental malaria, prenatal CO exposures from 15 to 20 weeks gestation were inversely associated with birth weight. Sex-stratified models identified a similar sensitive window in males and a window at 10-weeks gestation in females. In models adjusting for child sex, maternal age, BMI and ethnicity, household wealth index, gestational age at delivery and average postnatal child CO exposure, CO exposure during 34–39 weeks gestation were positively associated with severe pneumonia risk, especially in females. Conclusions: Household air pollution exposures in mid- and late- gestation are associated with lower birth weight and higher pneumonia risk, respectively. These findings support the urgent need for deployment of clean fuel stove interventions beginning in early pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108062
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Biomass
  • Birth weight
  • Household air pollution
  • Pneumonia
  • Prenatal
  • Sex-specific effects


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