Monday, April 4, 2011

Racial Disparities in Adverse Birth Outcomes

Really interesting article in the lastest issue of Social Science and Medicine! If you have access to the journal, I encourage you to check out the full article.





Lisa Rosenthal and Marci Lobel
Volume 72, Issue 6, March 2011, Pages 977-983

Abstract

The infant mortality rate for Black Americans in the US is more than twice the rate for White Americans, with similar racial disparities existing in rates of low birthweight and preterm delivery. Survivors of these adverse birth outcomes have poorer development and health in infancy, childhood, and adulthood. Increasingly, evidence suggests that maternal stress is an important risk factor for adverse birth outcomes. We offer a novel perspective on racial disparities in birth outcomes suggesting that Black American women are subject to unique sources of stress throughout their lives and particularly during pregnancy based on their multiple identities as women, Black, and pregnant. We draw on interdisciplinary work to examine three unique sources of stress for Black American women that elevate their risk for adverse birth outcomes: 1) abuses of Black American women by the medical system and issues of power in obstetrics that disadvantage Black American women; 2) contradictory societal pressures exerted on Black American women about whether they should have children; and 3) historical and contemporary stereotypes about Black American women related to sexuality and motherhood. We discuss implications of this analysis, including applications to research and intervention. Developing a better understanding of the experience of Black American women during pregnancy and throughout their lives offers insight into ways to reduce racial disparities in adverse birth outcomes and their lifelong consequences.

Highlights

► Provides a novel perspective on racial disparities in birth outcomes emphasizing Black American women’s unique sources of stress. right triangle, filled Examines Black American women’s intersecting identities, their association with discrimination, and effects on adverse birth outcomes. right triangle, filled Implicates poor treatment by the health care system, contradictory societal pressures, and stereotypes in contributing to Black American women’s stress. right triangle, filled Suggests implications of Black American women’s unique sources of stress for research and intervention

Keywords: African Americans; Birth outcomes; Black women; Pregnancy; Discrimination; Health disparities; Stress; Racism; USA

2 comments:

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