Objectives: We examined the effects of self-reported experiences of racial discrimination on Black-White differences in preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) and low-birthweight (less than 2500 g) deliveries.
Methods: Using logistic regression models, we analyzed data on 352 births among women enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.
Results: Among Black women, 50% of those with preterm deliveries and 61% of those with low-birthweight infants reported having experienced racial discrimination in at least 3 situations; among White women, the corresponding percentages were 5% and 0%. The unadjusted odds ratio for preterm delivery among Black versus White women was 2.54 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.33, 4.85), but this value decreased to 1.88 (95% CI=0.85, 4.12) after adjustment for experiences of racial discrimination and to 1.11 (95% CI=0.51, 2.41) after additional adjustment for alcohol and tobacco use, depression, education, and income. The corresponding odds ratios for low birthweight were 4.24 (95% CI=1.31, 13.67), 2.11 (95% CI=0.75, 5.93), and 2.43 (95% CI=0.79, 7.42).
Conclusions: Self-reported experiences of racial discrimination were associated with preterm and low-birthweight deliveries, and such experiences may contribute to Black-White disparities in perinatal outcomes.