Semin Reprod Med 2019; 37(05/06): 215-221
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1712929
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Obstetric Outcomes in Military Servicewomen: Emerging Knowledge, Considerations, and Gaps

Kathryn Mezwa
1  Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
Lee Adelsheim
1  Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
Glenn Markenson
2  Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
25 June 2020 (online)


The number of women in the U.S. military is dramatically increasing. Similarly, the roles of active-duty women are greatly expanding, thus exposing them to new occupational risks. Determining the impact of pregnancy outcomes for women while in the military is difficult due to changing exposures over time, difficulty in utilizing appropriate comparison groups, and the lack of prospective investigations. Despite these limitations, it was concerning that the available data suggest that servicewomen delivering within 6 months of their first deployment have an increased preterm birth risk (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.1), and those with three prior deployments have an even greater risk (aOR: 3.8). Servicewomen also have an increased risk of hypertensive disorders with a rate of 13% compared with 5% in the general obstetric population. Furthermore, depression is higher for women who deploy after childbirth and are exposed to combat when compared with those who have not deployed since the birth of their child (aOR: 2.01). Due to the importance of this issue, prospective research designs are necessary to better understand and address the unique health care needs of this population.