Racial disparities in preterm birth

Semin Perinatol. 2011 Aug;35(4):234-9. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2011.02.020.


In the United States, there is a pronounced and persistent race/ethnic disparity in the rate of preterm birth. Even after decades of basic science research and public health initiatives this disparity remains relatively unchanged. Factors that underpin this disparity are elusive and likely, at least in part, derived from complex mechanisms originating from social inequities. In this article several promising areas of research are explored. Specifically, social context or neighborhood-level exposures, maternal nativity, infection/inflammation, and preconception health differentials are discussed in the context of increasing risk of preterm birth among race/ethnic minorities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Premature Birth / ethnology
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology