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Deployment Timing Linked to Spontaneous Preterm Birth

Delivery within six months of return from deployment linked to increased risk of SPB

THURSDAY, March 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For female soldiers, delivery within six months of return from deployment is associated with increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth (SPB), according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Jonathan G. Shaw, M.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues examined the correlation between deployment and adverse reproductive outcomes. Linked medical and administrative data were used from the Stanford Military Data Repository of all U.S. Army soldiers with deliveries between 2011 and 2014 to examine factors associated with SPB, adjusted for sociodemographic, military-service, and health-related factors.

The researchers found that 6.1 percent of the 12,877 deliveries were SPBs. Soldiers who delivered within six months of their return from deployment had increased prevalence of SPB (11.7 percent). In multivariable models, there was a strong correlation between delivering within six months of return from deployment with SPB (adjusted odds ratios, 2.1). There were no significant associations for multiple past deployments or posttraumatic stress disorder with SPB.

“Within this cohort, timing of pregnancy in relation to deployment was identified as a novel risk factor for SPB,” the authors write. “Increased focus on servicewomen’s pregnancy timing and predeployment access to reproductive counseling and effective contraception is warranted.”

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