A woman's risk of dying is altered during pregnancy and immediately postpartum. Moreover, physiological and social changes associated with pregnancy may have long-term effects on mortality. Comparing these long-term associations among women and their husbands may provide insights into the nature of such a relationship. In this cohort study, the authors examine the association between reproductive history and all-cause mortality among ever-married women and men after age 45 in Matlab, Bangladesh, using data collected between 1982 and 1998 for a unique demographic surveillance system. No association was found between parity and mortality among women, but a small decrease in men's mortality was found to be associated with their wives' parity. Survival for both sexes was greatly enhanced by an increasing number of surviving children, regardless of parity or other social factors. A “healthy pregnant woman effect” coupled with the social and economic advantages of having surviving children may explain the observed effects.
Hurt, L.S.; Ronsmans, C.; Campbell, O.M.R.; Saha, S.; Kenward, M.; Quigley, M. Long-term Effects of Reproductive History on All-cause Mortality Among Adults in Rural Bangladesh. Studies in Family Planning (2004) 35 (3) 189-196. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2004.00022.x]