Black women in Canada have substantially higher risk of preterm birth than white women

November 9, 2015, Canadian Medical Association Journal

A study comparing rates of preterm birth among non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women in Canada found that the rates were substantially higher among black women than white women, mirroring the disparity in the United States. The research study, published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), is based on new cohort data from the Canadian Live Birth, Infant Death and Stillbirth Database linked with 2006 Canadian census data.

"Relative disparities in and very preterm birth between non-Hispanic black and in Canada mirrored those in the US. This observation was contrary to our hypothesis, which was based on the different historical experiences of black populations in the 2 countries and evidence that socioeconomic and racial disparity in health and access to health care tend to be less extreme in Canada," writes Dr. Britt McKinnon, Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, with coauthors.

The study included 91 045 live singleton births in Canada and just over 5 million in the US between May 2004 and May 2006. In Canada, 4.2% of all births were to women who self-identified as black compared with 20.5% in the US. Overall preterm birth rates were lower in Canada (6%) than in the US (9%). Preterm birth rates among in Canada were 8.9%, compared with 5.9% among white women. US rates were higher, at 12.7% and 8.0% respectively.

Foreign-born black women in Canada had preterm birth rates similar to those of native-born black women, unlike in the US, where foreign-born black women had lower preterm birth rates.

"We found that relative differences in preterm and very preterm birth rates between the black and white women in Canada were similar in magnitude to the racial disparities observed in the US study cohort," write the authors. "The absolute difference in preterm birth was narrower in Canada than in the US, which reflects the lower overall preterm in Canada among black and white women."

A weakness of the study was the poor quality of birth registration data from Ontario, the country's largest province, which also has the largest black population. The results, however, were similar for Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.

The authors concluded that further research should investigate whether factors like socioeconomic disadvantage, discrimination and health behaviours contribute to racial disparities in preterm birth in Canada.

In a related commentary, Dr. Russell Kirby, Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, states, "Overall, McKinnon and colleagues' findings are not surprising: the incidence of preterm birth was lower among Canadian women than among women in the US, both for infants born to white women and for those born to black women, but the increased risk for infants born to black women was generally similar across the two countries."

Explore further: Study finds variation of the interval between first and second pregnancy

More information: CMAJ, www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.151160

Related Stories

Study finds variation of the interval between first and second pregnancy

February 2, 2015
In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral concurrent session at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting in San Diego, researchers will report that the variation of interval from ...

Higher risk of preterm delivery for women born preterm

May 19, 2015
Women who were born preterm have a higher risk of giving birth to preterm children, according to a study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, from researchers of the CHU Sainte-Justine and the University of ...

Cervical pessary doesn't reduce rate of preterm birth or neonatal complications in twin gestatations

August 27, 2015
Having twins accounts for only 1.5% of all births but 25% of preterm births, the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. Successful strategies for reducing singleton preterm births include prophylactic use of progesterone ...

Substantial differences in obstetric care for First Nations women in Canada: BC study

November 2, 2015
There are substantial differences in obstetric care provided to First Nations women compared with women in the general population, and these differences may contribute to higher infant mortality in First Nations populations, ...

Study finds residence in US a risk factor for preterm birth

February 9, 2012
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that duration of stay in the United States ...

Black women less likely to survive uterine cancer, study finds

August 19, 2015
(HealthDay)—Uterine cancer rates are rising in the United States, particularly among black and Asian women, according to a new study that also found black women are more likely to die of the disease.

Recommended for you

Early postpartum opioids linked with persistent usage

December 14, 2018
Vanderbilt researchers have published findings indicating that regardless of whether a woman delivers a child by cesarean section or by vaginal birth, if they fill prescriptions for opioid pain medications early in the postpartum ...

Hysterectomy linked to memory deficit in an animal model

December 6, 2018
By age 60, one in three American women have had a hysterectomy. Though hysterectomy is a prevalent and routine surgery, the removal of the uterus before natural menopause might actually be problematic for cognitive processes ...

Obesity intervention needed before pregnancy

December 6, 2018
New research from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute supports the need for dietary and lifestyle interventions before overweight and obese women become pregnant.

First baby born via uterus transplanted from dead donor

December 5, 2018
In a medical first, a mother who received a uterus transplant from a dead donor gave birth to a healthy baby, researchers reported Wednesday.

Researchers find evidence of prenatal environment tuning genomic imprinting

December 5, 2018
A team of researchers from the U.S., Australia and Denmark has found evidence of the prenatal environment tuning genomic imprinting. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes ...

RSV study reveals age when infants are most vulnerable to asthma

December 5, 2018
New research suggests a maternal vaccination against RSV should be augmented with active immunisation in a child's first two years to reduce the onset of asthma.

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.