Conception and pregnancy during the Persian Gulf War: The risk to women veterans

Maria Rosario G. Araneta, Deborah R. Kamens, Andrew C. Zau, Victor M. Gastañaga, Karen M. Schlangen, Katia M. Hiliopoulos, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To enumerate Gulf-War (GW) exposed conceptions and to compare reproductive outcomes of GW-exposed pregnancies with postwar conceptions of women Gulf War veterans (GWV) and women nondeployed veterans (NDV). METHODS: Deployment data and inpatient records from 153 military hospitals identified servicewomen who were pregnant between August 1990 and May 1992 and belonged to military units that were deployed to the Gulf War. Postal surveys were used in 1997 and 1998 to elicit reproductive history; responses were validated against military hospitalization records. Reproductive outcomes of GW-exposed pregnancies were compared with postwar conceptions of women GWVs and NDVs. RESULTS: 3285 women had a pregnancy-related admission; of these, 1558 completed the questionnaire. Self-reported reproductive outcomes and dates, gestational data, and individual deployment dates identified 415 Gulf War-exposed pregnancies, 298 GWV postwar conceptions, and 427 NDV conceptions. Compared with NDV conceptions, adverse reproductive outcomes were similar among GW-exposed pregnancies. However, spontaneous abortions [NDV: 9.1%, GWV postwar: 22.8%, adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.92, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9, 4.6] and ectopic pregnancies (NDV: 1.4%, GWV postwar: 10.7%, adjusted OR = 7.70, 95% CI, 3.0, 20) were elevated for GWV postwar conceptions. CONCLUSION: GW-exposed conceptions and nondeployed conceptions had similar outcomes. However, GWV postwar conceptions were at increased risk for ectopic pregnancies and spontaneous abortions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Fetal Death
  • Gulf War
  • Military Personnel
  • Servicewomen
  • Spontaneous Abortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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