Journal Article

Preterm Birth and Licorice Consumption during Pregnancy

Timo E. Strandberg, Sture Andersson, Anna-Liisa Järvenpää and Paul M. McKeigue

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 9, pages 803-805
Published in print November 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwf130
Preterm Birth and Licorice Consumption during Pregnancy

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Heavy licorice (glycyrrhizin) consumption has been associated with shorter gestation. The aim of the present study was to test whether this association also applies to preterm (<37 weeks) births. In 2000–2001, a sample of 95 Finnish women who delivered preterm singletons was compared with controls (n = 107) who delivered babies of normal gestational age in the same hospital. Glycyrrhizin intake was calculated from questionnaires containing detailed items on licorice consumption. Glycyrrhizin exposure was grouped into three levels: low (<250 mg/week), moderate (250–499 mg/week), and heavy (≥500 mg/week). Heavy consumption versus a lower level of consumption was associated with a more than twofold increased risk of preterm (<37 weeks) delivery. The association was stronger when only the 40 births classified as early preterm delivery (<34 weeks) were included (odds ratio = 3.07, 95% confidence interval: 1.17, 8.05 for the fully adjusted model). In conclusion, heavy glycyrrhizin exposure was associated with preterm delivery and may be a novel marker of this condition.

Keywords: gestational age; glycyrrhizic acid; pregnancy; Abbreviation: SD, standard deviation.

Journal Article.  1785 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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