Economic downturn during early pregnancy was linked with modest increases in preterm birth in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis.
For the analysis, researchers examined a dataset of all singleton births in Michigan from 1990-2012. Each one percentage point increase in state unemployment in the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a modest 3% increase in the odds of preterm birth.
“Rates of preterm birth in the U.S. are higher than other developed nations, and we don’t really know why. Our research indicates a need for increased attention by clinicians and the public health community to the potential role of broader socioeconomic factors–in this case, the economy–to pregnancy health,” said lead author Dr. Claire E. Margerison, of Michigan State University.