Birth outcomes for African and Caribbean babies in England and Wales: retrospective analysis of routinely collected data

Datta-Nemdharry, P., Dattani, N. & Macfarlane, A. J. (2012). Birth outcomes for African and Caribbean babies in England and Wales: retrospective analysis of routinely collected data. BMJ Open, 2012(2), doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001088

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Abstract

Objectives: To compare mean birth weights, gestational ages and odds of preterm birth and low birth weight of live singleton babies of black African or Caribbean ethnicity born in 2005 or 2006 by mother's country of birth.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from linked birth registration and NHS Numbers for Babies data set.

Setting: Births to women in England and Wales in 2005 and 2006.

Participants: Babies of African and Caribbean ethnicity born in England and Wales in 2005–2006, whose mothers were born in African and Caribbean countries or the UK. Birth outcomes for 51 599 singleton births were analysed.

Main outcome measures: Gestational age and birth weight.

Results: Mothers born in Eastern or Northern Africa had babies at higher mean gestational ages (39.38 and 39.41 weeks, respectively) and lower odds of preterm birth (OR=0.80 and 0.65, respectively) compared with 39.00 weeks for babies with mothers born in the UK. Babies of African ethnicity whose mothers were born in Middle or Western Africa had mean birth weights of 3327 and 3311 g, respectively. These were significantly higher than the mean birth weight of 3257 g for babies of the UK-born mothers. Their odds of low birth weight (OR=0.75 and 0.72, respectively) were significantly lower. Babies of Caribbean ethnicity whose mothers were born in the Caribbean had higher mean birth weight and lower odds of low birth weight than those whose mothers were born in the UK.

Conclusions: The study shows that in babies of African and Caribbean ethnicity, rates of low birth weight and preterm birth varied by mothers' countries of birth. Ethnicity and country of birth are important factors associated with perinatal health, but assessing them singly can mask important heterogeneity in birth outcomes within categories particularly in relation to African ethnicity. These differences should be explored further.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Midwifery
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/1197

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