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Keywords:

  • Asphyxia neonatorum;
  • Infant;
  • Newborn;
  • Obstetrical care;
  • Socioeconomic status

Abstract

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between maternal socioeconomic position and a persistent low Apgar score (a score of < 7 at 1 and 5 min following birth).

Methods: The research is based on a population cohort study of 183 637 males born in Sweden between 1973 and 1976. Data from the Medical Birth Register were linked to Population and Housing Censuses.

Results: There was evidence that mothers working in non-manual (Odds ratio (OR) 0.83 (0.72–0.97)) and self-employed (OR 0.64 (0.44–0.93)) occupations were less likely to have an infant with a low Apgar score, compared to manual workers. There was evidence that the risk of a low Apgar score decreased as the mother's level of education increased, if the infant was born by instrumental (OR 0.86 (0.74–0.99)) or caesarean section (OR 0.80 (0.68–0.93)) delivery, but not by unassisted vaginal delivery (OR 1.01 (0.92–1.10)).

Conclusion: There was a lower risk of poor birth condition in male infants born to more educated and non-manual/self-employed mothers. These differences may contribute to our understanding of socioeconomic differences in infant health and development although the results may not be applicable due to changes over the last 30 years.