Economic downturn during pregnancy linked to modest increase in preterm birth

Economic downturn during early pregnancy was linked with modest increases in preterm birth in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis.

For the analysis, researchers examined a dataset of all singleton births in Michigan from 1990-2012. Each one percentage point increase in state unemployment in the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a modest 3% increase in the odds of preterm birth.

"Rates of preterm birth in the U.S. are higher than other developed nations, and we don't really know why. Our research indicates a need for increased attention by clinicians and the public health community to the potential role of broader socioeconomic factors--in this case, the economy--to pregnancy health," said lead author Dr. Claire E. Margerison, of Michigan State University.

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