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Tuberculosis mortality and recent childbirth: a retrospective case-control study of Gibraltarian women, 1874-1884


  • Burke, Stacie D. A.
  • Sawchuk, Lawrence A.


Prior to the introduction of effective treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis, there was little consensus on the potential health risk of pregnancy among infected women. While, intuitively, pregnancy was viewed as a risk for tuberculosis disease and mortality, early studies could not establish such a link with any great certainty. Our case study combines the methods of family reconstitution and a case-control approach to explore the possibility that the physiological and social strains of recent childbirth and the early mothering of infants may have been risk factors in adult female tuberculosis mortality in late 19th-century Gibraltar. The study is based on 244 reproductive age women who died between 1874 and 1884; some 55% of these deaths were attributed to tuberculosis. The record linkage indicates that almost 12% of the women who died had given birth within the year preceding their death. Factoring in the effects of age at death, marital status, and religion, the logistic regression results indicate that recent childbirth did not increase the risk of tuberculosis mortality among these women.

Suggested Citation

  • Burke, Stacie D. A. & Sawchuk, Lawrence A., 2003. "Tuberculosis mortality and recent childbirth: a retrospective case-control study of Gibraltarian women, 1874-1884," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 477-490, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:3:p:477-490

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