Socioeconomic status key risk for premature births

December 5, 2013 by Rachel Gleeson

(Medical Xpress)—Women who live in poorer areas, are older mothers, smokers or are Aboriginal have a higher risk of having a preterm baby, according to a University of Sydney study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

This study looked at risk factors for a baby being born before term especially any association between preterm birth and (SES).

Using data from the NSW Midwives Data Collection (MDC) for 1994-2004 enabled the researchers touse an universal and ongoing dataset which provided demographic, pregnancy, and birth-related parameters for all born in all public and private hospitals and at home in NSW.

Lead author, Deborah Donoghue from the University's Centre for Rural Health said:

"Such a large and reliable data set allowed us to divide the babies into four groups based on how early they were born. These groups were term, less than two months early, two to three months early, and more than 4 months early. This allowed us to look at factors that are at play in the different groups of babies such as 'very preterm' or those born at 28 to 31 weeks' gestation," she said.

For mothers from areas of most disadvantage and least resources, the risk of having a baby born at least three months early was 45 per cent higher than mothers from the least disadvantaged areas. While 28.5 per cent of all mothers resided in an area classified as 'most disadvantaged', this rose to 33.7 percent for mothers giving birth to very preterm babies.

"Our study found a strong association between and an increasing risk of preterm birth in more than 800,000 babies, even after adjusting for other key determinants including maternal age, Aboriginality, smoking and clinical conditions," she said.

"The risk of having a preterm baby was also significantly higher for , and this risk increased with increasingly preterm birth, consistent with previous research."

Ms Donoghue said the study found the for having a preterm baby was also high for Aboriginal women.

"Aboriginal women in Australia have substantially poorer health as measured by a range of health indicators. Even after controlling for socioeconomic disadvantage, Aboriginal women were at a substantially increased risk of , and the magnitude of this increase was similar to the risk associated with smoking during pregnancy.

"However, it is the many potentially modifiable factors related to (SES) such as maternal education, paternal occupation and income that offer the most promise for intervention."

Explore further: Understanding the mystery of preterm birth

More information: Donoghue, Deborah; Lincoln, Douglas; Morgan, Geoffrey; Beard, John. "Influences on the degree of preterm birth in New South Wales." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health dx.doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12132

Related Stories

Understanding the mystery of preterm birth

November 12, 2013
Researchers at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute say there is still a lack of knowledge about the causes of preterm birth and what can be done to prevent it.

Pre-eclampsia poses cerebral palsy risk for premature and small babies

July 9, 2013
Exposure to pre-eclampsia is associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy in newborns, if they are preterm or small at birth, suggests a study published today in BMJ.

Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy associated with preterm birth in non-white mothers

October 30, 2013
African-American and Puerto Rican women who have low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are more likely to go into labor early and give birth to preterm babies, research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School ...

Preterm birth of mother increases risk of pregnancy complications

September 24, 2012
Women who were born preterm are at increased risk of complications during pregnancy compared to those born at term, and the risk almost doubles for mothers born before 32 weeks, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical ...

Brain mapping study to improve outcomes for preterm infants

October 22, 2013
A University of Queensland study into how premature babies' brains develop will lead to the earlier diagnosis of brain impairment in preterm children.

Increased risk of prematurity and low birth weight in babies born after three or more abortions

August 29, 2012
One of the largest studies to look at the effect of induced abortions on a subsequent first birth has found that women who have had three or more abortions have a higher risk of some adverse birth outcomes, such as delivering ...

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.