Title

Early-Life Conditions and Age at First Pregnancy in British Women

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Royal Society

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

School

School of Medical Sciences

RAS ID

12410

Comments

This article was originally published as: Nettle, D., Coall, D. A., & Dickins, T. (2011). Early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy in British women. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1712), 1721-1727. Original article available here

Abstract

There is growing evidence that the reproductive schedules of female mammals can be affected by conditions experienced during early development, with low parental investment leading to accelerated life-history strategies in the offspring. In humans, the relationships between early-life conditions and timing of puberty are well studied, but much less attention has been paid to reproductive behaviour. Here, we investigate associations between early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy (AFP) in a large, longitudinally studied cohort of British women (n = 4553). Low birthweight for gestational age, short duration of breastfeeding, separation from mother in childhood, frequent family residential moves and lack of paternal involvement are all independently associated with earlier first pregnancy. Apart from that of birthweight, the effects are robust to adjustment for family socioeconomic position (SEP) and the cohort member's mother's age at her birth. The association between childhood SEP and AFP is partially mediated by early-life conditions, and the association between early-life conditions and AFP is partially mediated by emotional and behavioural problems in childhood. The overall relationship between early-life adversities and AFP appears to be approximately additive.

 

Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.1098/rspb.2010.1726