Purpose: To determine if there is a perinatal advantage for birth outcomes among Mexican-origin Latina (Latina) women compared to white non-Hispanic (white) women, after adjusting for maternal, paternal, and infant factors.
Methods: 1,439,583 births from the 1990-1993 California linked birth and infant death certificate data sets were analyzed for the risk of low birth weight infants and infant mortality.
Results: Latina women had a statistically higher unadjusted risk of low birth weight infants and infant mortality compared to white women. After adjusting for potential confounders, Latina women had a similar risk of low birth weight infants and a lower risk of infant mortality relative to white women. In multivariate analyses, the most significant risk factor for low infant birth weight was young gestational age (OR = 82.91 for gestational age 1-230 days and OR = 10.62 for gestational age 231-258 days) and the most significant risk factor for infant mortality was low birth weight (OR = 53.99 for infant birth weight <500 grams and OR = 9.27 for infant birth weight 500-2499 grams).
Conclusion: There was some evidence of a perinatal advantage for Latina women, when compared to white women and after adjusting for numerous potential confounders. To further reduce the risk of low birth weight infants and infant mortality, additional research is needed for etiologic clues beyond race/ethnicity and other traditional risk factors.