Influence of prenatal exposure to mercury, perceived stress, and depression on birth outcomes in suriname: Results from the mekitamara study

Academic Article


  • Prenatal exposure to mercury, stress, and depression may have adverse effects on birth outcomes. Little is known on the influence of chemical and non-chemical stressors on birth outcomes in the country of Suriname. We assessed the influence of prenatal exposure to mercury, perceived stress, and depression on adverse birth outcomes in 1143 pregnant Surinamese women who participated in the Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health-MeKiTamara prospective cohort study. Associations between mercury (≥1.1 µg/g hair, USEPA action level/top versus bottom quartile), probable depression (Edinburgh Depression Scale ≥12), high perceived stress (Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale ≥20), and adverse birth outcomes (low birthweight (<2500 g), preterm birth (<37 completed weeks of gestation), and low Apgar score (<7 at 5 min)) were assessed using bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions. Prevalence of elevated mercury levels, high perceived stress, and probable depression were 37.5%, 27.2%, and 22.4%, respectively. Mercury exposure was significantly associated with preterm birth in the overall study cohort (OR 2.47; 95% CI 1.05–5.83) and perceived stress with a low Apgar score (OR 9.73; 95% CI 2.03–46.70). Depression was not associated with any birth outcomes. These findings can inform policy-and practice-oriented solutions to improve maternal and child health in Suriname.
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    Author List

  • Gokoel AR; Zijlmans WCWR; Covert HH; Wahid FA; Shankar A; Macdonald-Ottevanger MS; Hindori-Mohangoo AD; Wickliffe JK; Lichtveld MY; Harville EW
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 14
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 12