The Association between Socioeconomic Status and the Risk of Miscarriage among Two Cohorts of British Women

Heini E. Vaisanen , University of Southampton
Katherine Keenan, University of St Andrews

Individuals with lower socioeconomic status (SES) tend to have poorer health, including sexual and reproductive health (e.g. pregnancy outcomes and sexually transmitted infections). The SES gradient in reproductive health may have multiple explanations including increased stress, and poorer health behaviours. However, there is a lack of research on the social determinants of miscarriage and the few existing studies show mixed results. We use data from the National Child Development Study (1958 birth cohort) and the British Cohort Study (1970) to investigate whether individual SES is longitudinally associated with subsequent reported miscarriages and whether the association varies by women’s age or cohort. Our preliminary analyses apply random-intercept logistic regression to the 1970 cohort data to model the likelihood of reported miscarriage according to SES in previous sweeps. The results suggest a U-shaped relationship between occupational social class and the risk of miscarriage (OR(unskilled vs. professional)=1.10; OR(all other groups vs. professional)=0.54-0.81 depending on group). Women with low social class (unskilled) might have a higher risk of miscarriage e.g. due to high stress levels resulting from low income or poor working conditions, or risky health behaviours. High social class (professional) might also be associated with high stress levels in high-pressure occupations. Our next analytical steps include (1) building a longitudinal dataset including time-varying outcomes/covariates measured annually; (2) conducting random and fixed effects models with education, income, and partner’s SES as covariates; (3) studying whether these associations differ for first versus subsequent miscarriages; and (4) conducting all these analyses also for the 1958 cohort.

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 Presented in Session 119. Health and Fertility