Climate Change and Getting Pregnant: Weather Exposure and a Full Accounting of Conceptions in Armenia and Tajikistan
Research on how climate or weather affects conceptions is limited and often constrained by data limitations. We use finely detailed data on local weather conditions and all conceptions, including those not ending in a live birth. Additionally, scientific knowledge is typically based on research focused on very poor or wealthy settings and routinely excludes many middle-income settings. Here, we examine two such contexts: Armenia and Tajikistan. These countries are undergoing complex economic development transitions but have highly developed health and education infrastructure. Using fixed-effects linear probability modeling of the time until each conception event based on Demographic and Health Surveys, we find no relationship between rainfall and conceptions in either context and no relationship between heat and conceptions in Armenia. In contrast, higher temperatures than usual and more hot days suppress conception probabilities in rural Tajikistan. This finding does not depend on whether we examine all conceptions or only those resulting in a live birth. Further, this relationship does not vary by women’s educational attainment, nor by being childless or not. Our findings do not, therefore, point to groups of women that may be specifically vulnerable to climate variability beyond those living in rural areas. This result suggests that how heat affects resources is potentially less important in the short-term than how individuals use their time and in what ways they engage with the environment.
Original titleClimate Change and Getting Pregnant: Weather Exposure and a Full Accounting of Conceptions in Armenia and Tajikistan