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Last Edited: 1/22/2008

Age at Menarche in Relation to Maternal Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea during Pregnancy
Written: 2004


To investigate the potential effects of common early life exposures on age at menarche, the authors examined data collected in a follow-up study of pregnancies that occurred during the 1960s in California. Among 994 female offspring interviewed as adolescents, 98% had started their menstrual periods at a mean age of 12.96 years. After adjustment, the mean age at menarche was a few months earlier among girls whose mothers smoked a pack or more of cigarettes daily during pregnancy compared with unexposed girls (difference = –0.22 years, 95% confidence interval (CI): –0.49, 0.05) and more so among girls who were not White (difference = –0.52 years, 95% CI: –1.1, 0.08). Girls with both high prenatal and childhood passive smoke exposure had an adjusted mean age at menarche about 4 months earlier than those unexposed. The daughter’s mean age at menarche varied little by maternal prenatal alcohol consumption. Daughters of tea consumers had a later mean age (difference = 0.41 years at 3 cups (0.7 liter)/day, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.80) and were more likely to start menarche later (>13 years) (odds ratio = 1.7, 95% CI: 0.91, 3.2), but daughters of coffee consumers did not. These suggestive findings, which merit further investigation, may be related to hormonal effects.

Full text at American Journal of Epidemiology website

Suggested Citation

  • Windham GC, Bottomley C, Birner C, Fenster L. Age at menarche in relation to maternal use of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea during pregnancy. Am J Epidemiol 159:862-871, 2004.