3 years ago

A life course approach to reproductive health: Theory and methods

Taking a life course approach to the study of reproductive health involves the investigation of factors across life and, also across generations, that influence the timing of menarche, fertility, pregnancy outcomes, gynaecological disorders, and age at menopause. It also recognises the important influence of reproductive health on chronic disease risk in later life. Published literature supports the use of an integrated life course approach to study reproductive health, which examines the whole life course, considers the continuity of reproductive health and the interrelationship between the different markers of this. This is in contrast to more traditional approaches that tend to focus only on contemporary risk factors and which consider each marker of reproductive health separately. For instance, we found evidence linking early life factors such as growth, socioeconomic conditions, and parental divorce with ages at menarche and menopause, although the nature of the relationship differs. We discuss the different theoretical models that are used within life course epidemiology and which postulate pathways linking exposures across the life course to health outcomes, using examples of relevance to the study of reproductive health. These highlight the importance of examining timing of exposures, such as during critical periods in early life, and the temporal order of exposures. How life course frameworks of reproductive health can be developed to help identify hypotheses to be tested is also demonstrated. This approach has implications for the development of effective health policy that moves beyond identifying not only the type of intervention but also the most appropriate time across life to intervene.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0378512209004642

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.