Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
038, Townshend Hall
Title: Wartime 'fetal origins': stress, trauma, and the long-term effects of armed conflict for women's health
Abstract: Studies suggest that one's 'fetal origin' - that is, the prenatal environment - has long-term effects on health over the life course. Low birth weight has been linked to a wide range of health consequences, from heart disease to schizophrenia. In this research, we examine how wartime 'fetal origins' affect women's health in Tajikistan, a former Soviet Socialist Republic. Using the 2012 and 2017 Demographic and Health Surveys, we compare women who were in utero during the 1992-1997 Tajikistani Civil War to women who were in utero five years prior and five years after the peace accord was signed. Preliminary findings suggest that women who were in utero during the war are more likely to show signs of stunted growth and more likely to have developed anemia by their 20s than women born before and after the war, controlling for wealth, regional differences, and individual fertility. These context-specific health indicators may well impact women's reproductive and overall health in the future and may be passed intergenerationally. Thus, these findings have the potential to contribute to our understanding of the long-term consequences of violent conflict on health outcomes over the life course.