Introduction: Lead is a heavy metal to which people are commonly exposed. One of the possible mechanisms of tissue damages caused by this toxic metal is oxidative stress, which in turn may cause numerous pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia. The present study was conducted to determine the relationship between maternal Blood Lead Level (BLL) and preeclampsia.

Methods: The present case-control study was conducted on 158 pregnant women admitted to a hospital in Zanjan, Iran, from August 2015 to March 2016. To measure their BLL, 1.5 cc of blood was drawn from each participant. The demographic and obstetric details of the patients were recorded in a form. The potentiometric method was used to test the samples. The data obtained were analyzed by SPSS version 22, using Mann-Whitney U test, the Chi square, independent-samples t-test, Pearson product-moment correlation, and simple linear regression analysis. 

Results: The mean BLL was 6.24±1.74 µg/dl in the control group and 8.04±3.4 µg/dl in the preeclampsia group. The two groups were matching in terms of the mother's age and education and the household income. A significant relationship was observed between BLL and preeclampsia (p=0.028), as per every unit of increase (1 µg/dl) in BLL, systolic blood pressure increased by 0.014 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 0.013 mm Hg (p=0.004). 

Conclusion: The results obtained suggest a relationship between BLL and preeclampsia. Global health measures should be taken to remove the exposure to lead so as to reduce its absorption by pregnant women.


Keywords: preeclampsia, blood lead level (BLL), pregnancy
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