New Data Shows Black Women Have Greater Chance of Preterm Births Especially in Connecticut
A new study has found that black women across the country, and especially in the state of Connecticut, have greater odds of birthing a baby prematurely than white or Hispanic women. The study was reported by the New Haven Register and suggests a troubling connection between race and birth injury rates, which are more common among preterm babies.
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s data from 2014, 12% of births by black women in Connecticut were preterm compared to 10% of Hispanic women and 9% for white. The numbers are even worse when you look at the overall numbers for the United States. On average, 8.9% of white women, 9% of Hispanic, and 13.2% of black women delivered babies prematurely.
The numbers vary from state to state, but for the most part they all reflect similar disparities in one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to birth injury statistics. That for whatever reason, black women are at a disadvantage.
Generally speaking, factors that can increase the chance of a preterm birth and birth injury rates in all women are include, chronic illnesses, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, being younger than 17 or older than 40, and using alcohol or drugs.
The state of Connecticut has even tried various initiatives and programs to combat this problem, like forming the Connecticut Plan to Improve Birth Outcomes. This program is aimed at improving education of at-risk birth injury research and opening up health insurance access to more women in need.
?Black women, here in Connecticut and nationally, fare worse than white counterparts in just about every aspect of reproductive health,? said Dr. M. Natalie Achong, who is chairwoman of the Health Equity Committee of the Connecticut State Medical Society. Achong is also a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, a practicing OB/GYN in Waterbury, and a faculty member in Yale School of Medicine?s OB/GYN department.
While bearing a preterm baby is not inherently a bad thing per se, it does drastically increase birth injury rates for a variety of conditions including, cerebral palsy diagnosis, infections, autism, and asthma.
One of the most common cerebral palsy symptoms, which is the most common motor disability in childhood, is low birth weight (under 5lb, 7.5 oz). The possibility of a baby being born under weight increases when it is preterm. On average, one out of every 323 children in the U.S. have cerebral palsy, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
?Health disparity is a mirror for societal disparities,? Achong said. ?There are disparities that persist over decades, and certainly persist in our state.? Helpful links.