Racial Discrimination and the Black-White Gap in Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Review
Article first published online: 6 JUL 2011
© 2011 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 362–370, July/August 2011
How to Cite
Giurgescu, C., McFarlin, B. L., Lomax, J., Craddock, C. and Albrecht, A. (2011), Racial Discrimination and the Black-White Gap in Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Review. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 56: 362–370. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-2011.2011.00034.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 6 JUL 2011
- gestational age at birth;
- low birth weight;
- preterm birth;
- racial discrimination;
- health status disparities
Introduction: The purpose of this integrative review was to evaluate what is known about the relationship between racial discrimination and adverse birth outcomes.
Methods: A search of the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO was conducted. The keywords used were: preterm birth, premature birth, preterm delivery, preterm labor, low birth weight, very low birth weight, racism, racial discrimination, and prejudice. Ten research studies were reviewed. All of the studies included African American women in their samples, were conducted in the United States, and were written in English. We did not limit the year of publication for the studies. Data were extracted based on the birth outcomes of preterm birth, low birth weight, or very low birth weight.
Results: A consistent positive relationship existed between perceptions of racial discrimination and preterm birth, low birth weight, and very low birth weight. No relationship was found between racial discrimination and gestational age at birth.
Discussion: Future research should explore the effects of racial discrimination as a chronic stressor contributing to the persistent gap in birth outcomes between racial groups.