Objectives: This study investigated social variation in birth outcome in the Czech Republic after the political changes of 1989.
Methods: Routinely collected records on singleton live births in 1989, 1990, and 1991 (n = 380,633) and 1994, 1995, and 1996 (n = 286,907) were individually linked to death records.
Results: Mean birthweight fell from 3,323 g to 3,292 g (P < .001) between 1989 and 1991 and then increased to 3,353 g by 1996. The gap in mean birthweight between mothers with a primary education and those with a university education, adjusted for age, parity, and sex of infants, widened from 182 g (95% confidence interval [CI] = 169, 19) in 1989 to 256 g (95% CI = 240, 272) in 1996. Similar trends were found for preterm births. Postneonatal mortality declined most among the better educated and the married. The odds ratio for postneonatal death for infants of mothers with a primary (vs university) education, adjusted for birthweight, increased from 1.99 (95% CI = 1.52, 2.60) in 1989 through 1991 to 2.39 (95% CI = 1.55, 3.70) in 1994 through 1995.
Conclusions: Despite general improvement in the indices of fetal growth and infant survival in the most recent years, social variation in birth outcome in the Czech Republic has increased.