Preterm delivery among Black women

November 30, 2020

Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama in a circle with an arrow pointing to the fact: Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas were among the states with the highest risk of preterm delivery for Black women.

Preterm delivery occurs at extraordinarily higher rates among Black women than among women of any other race or ethnicity, a disparity associated with ongoing distress caused by racism. This study, published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by Palmira Santos and colleagues, examines rates of preterm delivery for Black women in the U.S. to determine the level of risk associated with living in specific states (controlling for known clinical, economic and demographic risk factors).

Highlights include:

  • In 32 of the 35 states in this analysis, Black women face a significantly increased risk of preterm delivery compared to Black women living in the lowest-incidence state.
  • This analysis found that 11% of Black women's deliveries were preterm, compared to 7.9% among non-Black women.
  • Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas were among the states with the highest risk of preterm delivery for Black women.

Santos, P., Joglekar, G., Faughnan, K., Darden, J., and Hendrich, A. (2020). “Disproportionate Preterm Delivery Among Black Women: A State-Level Analysis.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 7(2), pp. 290-297.

research impact highlightsThis story is part of the 2020 Heller Social Policy Impact Report, showcasing a selection of high-impact research and public engagement from the faculty, researchers and students of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from July 2019 through June 2020.

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