HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Association of Spouse Deployment on Pregnancy Outcomes in a U.S. Military Population

Article

Military deployments have significant effects on the physical and mental health of not only service members, but also their families. This study provides evidence that deployment of a spouse during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk for preterm delivery and postpartum depression.

Abstract

The objective of this research was to evaluate the association of spousal deployment during the antenatal period on maternal and neonatal outcomes and to estimate whether group prenatal care may be beneficial in reducing adverse outcomes when spouses are deployed. Women whose spouses were deployed to a combat zone during the entire pregnancy (deployed group) were compared with women whose spouses were not deployed during the pregnancy (non-deployed group). Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes were compared between groups. There were no differences in the incidence of preterm delivery and postpartum depression for women in the deployed group who participated in group prenatal care, when compared with women participating in traditional care (preterm delivery 6 [14.6%] compared with 32 [22.5%], P=.38; postpartum depression 4 [9.8%] compared with 26 [18.3%], P=.24). Women who have a spouse deployed during their pregnancy are at increased risk for preterm birth and postpartum depression. Larger studies are needed to evaluate whether spouse deployment during pregnancy has other perinatal effects and whether group prenatal care may have a positive effect on adverse perinatal outcomes in this population.

Full Reference

Tarney CM, Berry-Caban C, Jain RB, Kelly M, Sewell MF, Wilson K, 2015, Association of Spouse Deployment on Pregnancy Outcomes in a U.S. Military Population, 126, 3,569-574.