Objective: (1) To compare the preterm delivery rates in the Bedouin versus the Jewish population. (2) To compare risk factors for preterm delivery in the two populations. (3) To compare outcomes of preterm delivery between the two groups.
Study design: 41669 Jewish singletons births of whom 2816 delivered preterm (23-36 weeks) and 26495 Bedouin singletons in whom 2064 preterm deliveries occurred, were compared. All births took place in Soroka University Medical Center. Data were obtained from the computerized database of birth discharge records.
Results: The incidence of preterm delivery in Bedouin women was significantly higher than the rate in Jewish women (7.8 vs. 6.8%, P<0.01). The grand multiparity rate was higher among Bedouin women (P<0.001), as was the rate of teenage (<19 years) mothers (P<0.001). Gestational diabetes, PIH, and PROM rates were higher in the Jewish population (P<0.001, P=0.017, P<0.001, respectively). A bad obstetric history and previous perinatal mortality is more common in the Bedouin population (P<0.001 for both). In a logistic regression model including all these factors, the ethnic difference in the incidence of preterm delivery remained significant. The neonatal mortality rate was higher in the Bedouin population (P<0.001), as was the rate of congenital malformations (P<0.001). The perinatal mortality of Bedouins was nearly twice that of Jewish neonates with congenital malformations. However, no difference was found when neonates without congenital malformations were compared. Congenital malformations were found to be the strongest predictor of mortality. Ethnicity per se was no longer a predictor of mortality once congenital malformations were included in a logistic regression model, but the interaction of Bedouin ethnicity and congenital malformation was a significant predictor of mortality.
Conclusion: The incidence of preterm delivery was significantly higher in Bedouin women than in Jewish women. A full explanation for this difference was not found. However, there were significantly higher rates of congenital malformations in the Bedouin preterm delivered infants. There was a much higher rate of neonatal mortality in the Bedouin population and this ethnic difference was fully explained by the presence of congenital anomalies.