My dissertation research is on the use of induction of labor and cesarean section deliveries (i.e., obstetric interventions) in the United States. I argue that the combination of risk discourse (i.e., fear of being labeled as “high risk”), the medicalization of birth (i.e., the need to “treat the birth”), and U.S. concern with reproduction of life has promoted the rising use of obstetric interventions in the United States. I further explore how different levels of social life act as moderators for how risk is navigated in obstetric care and argue that exposure to risk discourse, navigation of potentially risky medical outcomes, and medicalization practices might differ by the social and institutional contexts in which U.S. women live and navigate. 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Tilstra, Andrea M., Daniel H. Simon, and Ryan K. Masters. (2021) “Trends in “Deaths of Despair” among Working Aged White and Black Americans, 1990-2017.” (Online First). American Journal of Epidemiology. DOI:

Rogers, Richard G., Robert A. Hummer, Andrea M. Tilstra, Elizabeth M. Lawrence, and Stefanie Mollborn. (2020) “Family Structure and Early Life Mortality in the United States.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 82(4):1159-1177. DOI:

Tilstra, Andrea M., and Ryan K. Masters. “Recent Trends in Obstetric Practices, Gestational Age, and U.S. Birth Weight.” Demography 57:99–121. DOI:

Braudt, David B., Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Andrea M. Tilstra, Robert A. Hummer, and Richard G. Rogers. (2019) “Associations between Early Life Mortality and Socioeconomic Status in the 21st Century United States.” Maternal and Child Health Journal, 23(10), 1382-1391.


Tilstra, Andrea M. (2018) “Estimating Educational Differences in Low-Risk Cesarean Section Delivery: A Multilevel Modeling Approach.” Population Research and Policy Review 37(1): 117-135. DOI:


Masters, Ryan K., Andrea M. Tilstra, and Daniel H. Simon. (2018) “Explaining Recent Mortality Trends among Younger and Middle Aged White Americans.” International Journal of Epidemiology 47(1): 81-88. DOI:


Rogers, Richard G., Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Robert A. Hummer, and Andrea M. Tilstra. (2017) “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Early Life Mortality in the United States.” Biodemography and Social Biology 63(3): 189-205.



Masters, Ryan K., Andrea M. Tilstra, and Daniel H. Simon. (2017) “Mortality from Suicide, Chronic Liver Disease, and Drug Poisonings among Middle-Aged U.S. White Men and Women, 1980-2013.” Biodemography and Social Biology 63(1): 31-37. DOI:  

Manuscripts Under Review

Masters, Ryan K., Andrea M. Tilstra, and Kate Coleman-Minahan. “Changes in Obstetric Interventions and Gestational Age Distributions in the United States, 1990-2015: A Population Analysis of Official Natality Records by State and Race/Ethnicity.”

Houle, Brian, Chodziwadziwa W. Kabudula, Andrea M. Tilstra, Sanyu A. Mojola, Enid Schatz, Samuel J. Clark, Nicole Angotti, F. Xavier Gómez-Olivé, Jane Menken. “Twin Epidemics: Interaction Effects of HIV and Hypertension on Mortality Risk in Rural South Africa, 2010-2016.”

Tilstra, Andrea M. “Risk, Medicalization, and Obstetric Interventions: Explaining the Rising Use of Cesarean Deliveries and Induction of Labor in the United States.”