Pregnancy outcome and ultraviolet radiation; A systematic review

Lauren Megaw, Tom Clemens, Chris Dibben, Richard Weller, Sarah Stock

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Background Season and vitamin D are indirect and direct correlates of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and are associated with pregnancy outcomes. Further to producing vitamin D, UV has positive effects on cardiovascular and immune health that may support a role for UV directly benefitting pregnancy. Objectives To investigate the effects of UV exposure on pregnancy; specifically fetal growth, preterm birth and hypertensive complications. Methods We conducted a systematic review of Medline, EMBASE, DoPHER, Global Health, ProQuest Public Health, AustHealth Informit, SCOPUS and Google Scholar to identify 537 citations, 8 of which are included in this review. This review was registered on PROSPERO and a. narrative synthesis is presented following PRISMA guidance. Results All studies were observational and assessed at high risk of bias. Higher first trimester UV was associated with and improved fetal growth and increased hypertension in pregnancy. Interpretation is limited by study design and quality. Meta-analysis was precluded by the variety of outcomes and methods. Discussion The low number of studies and risk of bias limit the validity of any conclusions. Environmental health methodological issues are discussed with consideration given to design and analytical improvements to further address this reproductive environmental health question. Conclusions The evidence for UV having benefits for pregnancy hypertension and fetal growth is limited by the methodological approaches utilized. Future epidemiological efforts should focus on improving the methods of modeling and linking widely available environmental data to reproductive health outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-343
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


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