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Study Finds Residence in U.S. a Risk Factor for Preterm Birth

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Study Finds Residence in U.S. a Risk Factor for Preterm Birth

 In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that duration of stay in the United States is associated with increased risk of preterm birth for Hispanic women.

“It is uncertain how important environmental factors are in predisposition to preterm birth,” said Radek Bukowski, MD, PhD, with the University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Galveston, Texas, and one of the study’s authors.  “To address this question, the objective of the study was to determine the risk of preterm birth in relation to duration of residence in theU.S.among Hispanic women.”

For the study, entitled Residence in the U.S. a Risk Factor for Preterm Birth, Bukowski and his colleague, Julian Robinson, MD, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology, inBoston,Mass., studied 2,141 Hispanic women with a prior live birth who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2006), a probability sample of theU.S. population.  They found that women living in the U.S. for less than 10 years had a 3.4 percent frequency of preterm birth and women living in the U.S. for 10 or more years had twice the risk of preterm birth and a 7.4 percent frequency of preterm birth.  Furthermore, women born in the U.S. had a 10 percent frequency of preterm birth and three-fold risk of preterm birth.  The risk of preterm birth did not appear to be related to a number of preterm birth risk factors investigated, but because it was acquired during residence in the U.S., it is potentially modifiable.

The findings support the hypothesis that preterm birth is, at least in part, related to environmental, potentially preventable, factors.  It remains unclear what specific environmental factors protect or predispose women to preterm birth.

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A copy of the abstract is available at http://www.smfmnewsroom.org/annual-meeting/2011-meeting-abstracts/.  For interviews please contact Vicki Bendure at Vicki@bendurepr.com, 540-687-3360 (office) or 202-374-9259 (cell), or Jacqueline Boggess at jacqueline@bendurepr.com, 540-687-5399 (office) or 202-738-3054 (cell).

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (est. 1977) is a non-profit membership group for obstetricians/gynecologists who have additional formal education and training in maternal-fetal medicine.  The society is devoted to reducing high-risk pregnancy complications by providing continuing education to its 2,000 members on the latest pregnancy assessment and treatment methods.  It also serves as an advocate for improving public policy, and expanding research funding and opportunities for maternal-fetal medicine.  The group hosts an annual scientific meeting in which new ideas and research in the area of maternal-fetal medicine are unveiled and discussed.  For more information, visit www.smfm.org or www.facebook.com/SocietyforMaternalFetalMedicine.  

 

Abstract 17:

Residence in the US a risk factor for preterm birth
Radek Bukowski 1, Julian Robinson 2

University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Galveston, TX, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston, MA

OBJECTIVE: It is not known whether preterm birth is predominantly related to genetic or environmental factors. To address this question the objective of this study was to determine the risk of preterm birth in relation to duration of residence in the U.S. among Hispanics.

STUDY DESIGN: Risk of preterm birth in relation to duration of residence in the U.S. was evaluated in a population based study of 2,141 Hispanic women with a prior live birth who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2006), a probability sample of the U.S. population.

RESULTS: The prevalence of preterm birth was 4.0% (18/447) among women residing 10 years and was 9.5% (85/897) among Hispanic women born in the U.S. (p0.002). Comparing to women residing in the U.S. for 10 years and women born in the U.S. (age adjusted OR [95% CI]: 2.1 [1.1-4.4]; p0.043 and 3.1 [1.5-6.2]; p0.002, respectively). Adjustment for: age, BMI, education, marital status, income, prior smoking and current cotinine concentrations, diabetes, hypertension, preferred language at home and if all births occurred while residing in the U.S. did not have a material effect (fully adjusted OR [95% CI]: 2.1 [1.1-4.2]; p0.031 and 3.5 [1.4-8.9]; p0.008, respectively). There were no significant differences in the age at the first live birth between the groups (p0.2). Almost 50% of the preterm births among Hispanic can be attributed to being born in the U.S (Attributable Fraction for the Population: 47.5%).
CONCLUSION: Duration of stay in the U.S. is associated with increasing risk of preterm birth for Hispanic women. This finding supports a hypothesis that the preterm birth, at least in part, is related to environmental, potentially preventable, factors.

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