Preliminary Findings from the Gulf War Women’s Cohort: Reproductive and Children’s Health Outcomes among Women Veterans

Alexa Friedman, Patricia A. Janulewicz Lloyd, Jeffrey Carlson, Emily Quinn, Dylan Keating, Rosemary Toomey, Timothy Heeren, Steven S. Coughlin, Glenn Markenson, Maxine Krengel, Kimberly Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reproductive outcomes, such as preterm birth, miscarriage/stillbirth, and pre-eclampsia, are understudied in veterans, particularly among Gulf War veterans (GWVs). During deployment, women GWVs were exposed to toxicant and nontoxicant exposures that may be associated with adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes. The data come from a survey of 239 participants from northeastern and southern U.S. cohorts of women veterans. The questionnaire collected information about the service history, current and past general health, reproductive and family health, demographic information, and deployment exposures. Odds ratios were computed with 95% confidence intervals between exposures in theater and reproductive/children’s health outcomes. GWVs experienced adverse reproductive outcomes: 25% had difficulty conceiving, and 31% had a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage or stillbirth. Pregnancy complications were common among GWVs: 23% had a high-risk pregnancy, and 16% were diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. About a third of GWVs reported their children (38%) had a developmental disorder. Use of pesticide cream during deployment was associated with higher odds of all reproductive and developmental outcomes. The results demonstrate that GWVs experienced reproductive and children’s health outcomes at potentially high rates, and exploratory analyses suggest pesticide exposure as associated with higher odds of adverse reproductive outcomes. Future longitudinal studies of women veterans should prioritize examining reproductive and children’s health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8483
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Gulf War
  • children’s health
  • reproductive health
  • veterans
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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