Black Moms Face Triple the Risk of 'Preemie' Birth
Black women are three times more likely than white women to deliver their
babies prematurely, a new study reveals. Even worse, they are four times more
likely to give birth extremely prematurely — between 20 to 28 weeks
Genetics are the most likely reason for the phenomenon, the study’s lead
“It has been known that African-American women have an increased risk of
preterm delivery,” said Dr. Louis J. Muglia, director of the Center for Preterm
Birth Research at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. “By
this study we are trying to understand the foundation for that effect.”
His team published its findings in the February issue of the American
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The study tracked more than 700,000 births in Missouri from 1989 to 1997.
The researchers found that black women were three times more likely than
their white counterparts to give birth at 20 to 34 weeks of pregnancy, rather
than full-term (from 37 to 41 weeks).