All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Anne Turner-Henson

Advisory Committee Members

Charles A Downs

Michelle Fanucchi

Erica Pryor

Marti Rice

Lisa Schwiebert

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


Formaldehyde exposure during pregnancy has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as poor fetal growth, although few studies have examined formaldehyde exposure during pregnancy and its relationship to fetal growth. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of formaldehyde exposure during pregnancy and examine the relationship between formaldehyde exposure and fetal growth. Formaldehyde exposure was examined, using vapor monitor badge and urine formic acid, in 140 women in their second trimester of pregnancy. One time urine samples were collected during a routine prenatal visit, and women wore the vapor badges for 24 hours. Fetal growth was measured through fetal ultrasound biometry measurements including, biparietal diameter (BPD), head circumference (HC), abdominal circumference (AC), femur length (FL), and estimated fetal weight (EFW). The mean level of formaldehyde exposure using the vapor monitor badges was 0.04 parts per million (ppm) (SD=0.06); 36.4% of participants exceeded Minimum Risk Levels (MRL's) of 0.03 ppm, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) standard for personal exposure for 14-364 days. Formaldehyde levels by vapor monitor badge (< 0.03 ppm & > 0.03 ppm) were correlated with season of data collection (p < .008), indoor temperature of dwellings (p < .014), and house remodeling (p < .037). The linear regression model including covariates showed that ATSDR dichotomized level of formaldehyde exposure was a significant predictor of BPD percentile, after controlling for maternal race. The relationships between isoprostane and fetal growth were non-significant. Home and lifestyle behaviors can lead to air pollutant risks due to formaldehyde. Over one third of participants in this study had formaldehyde exposures levels for a 24 hour period exceeding ATSDR recommended levels for 14-364 days. Promoting home and lifestyle behaviors to reduce exposure to environmental toxic chemicals, including, formaldehyde should be included as part of prenatal care.

Included in

Nursing Commons



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