Early pregnancy serum levels of perfluoroalkyl substances and risk of preeclampsia in Swedish women

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal and fetal morbidity. Emerging research shows an association with environmental exposures. The present aim was to investigate associations between early pregnancy serum levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and preeclampsia. Within the Swedish SELMA study, eight PFAS were measured at median 10 gestational weeks and cases of preeclampsia were postnatally identified from registers. Associations between individual PFAS and preeclampsia were assessed, adjusting for parity, age, weight and smoking. Out of 1,773 women in the study group, 64 (3.6%), developed preeclampsia. A doubling of PFOS and PFNA exposure, corresponding to an inter-quartile increase, was associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia of about 38–53% respectively. Serum PFOS within the highest quartile was associated with an odds ratio of 2.68 (CI 95%: 1.17–6.12), equal to the increased risk associated with nulliparity, when compared to exposure in the first quartile. The same associations were identified, although with higher risk estimates, in analyses restricted to nulliparous women. For other PFAS, there were no associations. In conclusion and consistent with limited previous research only on PFOS, increasing serum levels of PFOS and PFNA during early pregnancy were associated with a clinically relevant risk of preeclampsia, adjusting for established confounders.


External organisations
  • Örebro University
  • Karlstad University
  • Stockholm University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Article number9179
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 24
Publication categoryResearch