Post-term birth as a response to environmental stress: The case of September 11, 2001

Claire E. Margerison-Zilko, Julia M. Goodman, Elizabeth Anderson, Alison Gemmill, Ralph A. Catalano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background and objectives: Despite growing interest in the role of maternal psychosocial stress as a determinant of preterm birth, no existing work has examined the relation between maternal stress and post-term birth (≥42 weeks). We hypothesize that prolonging gestation past term may represent an adaptive strategy to a suboptimal environment. Methodology: We examined the relationship between exposure to the September 2001 terrorist attacks and odds of post-term birth in California. We calculated the expected odds of post-term birth among conception cohorts of singleton gestations in California between October 1996 and November 2005. We used time series analysis to test for higher than expected odds of post-term birth among the 10 cohorts exposed to the attacks of September 2001 (those conceived from December 2000 to September 2001). Results: The observed odds of post-term delivery among gestations at 33-36 weeks in September 2001 were higher than statistically expected for all race/ethnic and sex groups. Conclusions and implications: Our finding that odds of post-term birth were higher than expected among pregnancies exposed to the September 2001 terrorist attacks in late gestation provides initial support for the hypothesis that exposure to a psychosocial stress during pregnancy may result in prolonged gestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereov001
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution, Medicine and Public Health
Volume2015
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Term Birth
environmental stress
pregnancy
Pregnancy
Mothers
premature birth
Premature Birth
time series analysis
Ethnic Groups
methodology
gender

Keywords

  • Critical window
  • Gestation
  • Growth
  • Parent-offspring conflict
  • Post term
  • Pre-term
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Post-term birth as a response to environmental stress : The case of September 11, 2001. / Margerison-Zilko, Claire E.; Goodman, Julia M.; Anderson, Elizabeth; Gemmill, Alison; Catalano, Ralph A.

In: Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, Vol. 2015, No. 1, eov001, 01.01.2015, p. 13-20.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Margerison-Zilko, Claire E. ; Goodman, Julia M. ; Anderson, Elizabeth ; Gemmill, Alison ; Catalano, Ralph A. / Post-term birth as a response to environmental stress : The case of September 11, 2001. In: Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. 2015 ; Vol. 2015, No. 1. pp. 13-20.
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