Mother's age at menarche is associated with odds of preterm delivery: A case–control study

Yingan Chen, Mingyu Zhang, Guoying Wang, Xiumei Hong, Xiaobin Wang, Noel T. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: There is a secular trend towards earlier age of menarche in the US and globally. Earlier age at menarche (AAM) has been associated with metabolic disorders that increase risk for preterm delivery (PTD), yet no studies in the US have investigated whether AAM influences risk of PTD. This study tested the hypothesis that AAM is associated with PTD. Design: A case–control study. Setting: The Boston Medical Center (BMC) in Boston, Massachusetts. Population or Sample: 8264 mother-newborn dyads enrolled at birth at BMC between 1998 and 2019, of which 2242 mothers had PTD (cases) and 6022 did not have PTD (controls). Methods: Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models and restricted cubic splines were used to examine the association between AAM and risk of PTD. The combined impact of AAM and age at delivery on the risk of PTD was also examined. Main Outcome Measures: Preterm delivery and gestational age (GA) was defined by maternal last menstrual period and early ultrasound documented in medical records. Results: Maternal age at delivery was 28.1 ± 6.5 years and AAM was 12.85 ± 1.86 years. Multivariable-adjusted cubic spline suggested an inverse dose–response association of AAM with odds of PTD and, consistently, a positive association with GA. A 1-year earlier AAM was associated with 5% (95% CI 2%–8%) higher odds of PTD, after adjustment for maternal year of birth, parity, maternal place of birth, education, smoking status and Mediterranean-style diet score. The association between AAM and PTD was stronger among older mothers whose age at delivery was ≥35 years. Conclusions: Earlier AAM is associated with higher odds for PTD, and this association is stronger among women at advanced reproductive age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • age at delivery
  • age at menarche
  • case–control study
  • preterm delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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