Posted on December 1, 2004

Racial Discrimination May Contribute To Premature Births

Medical Study News, Nov. 29

Black women who perceive themselves as victims of racial discrimination seem to be at higher risk for giving birth prematurely and for having low-birthweight babies.

Two separate studies showed a strong correlation between perceived racism and preterm and low-birthweight births. In a study of 352 women participating in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, 50 percent of the black women with preterm deliveries and 61 percent of those with low-birthweight infants reported experiencing racial discrimination at least three times. Among the white women, only 5 percent of those with premature deliveries and none of those with low-birthweight infants reported prior racism.

Another study that compared 104 black women who given birth prematurely to 208 black women who delivered full-term babies found that the more racial discrimination a woman faced during her lifetime, the higher her risk for premature birth.