Front Public Health. 2023 Nov 30;11:1165089. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1165089. eCollection 2023.


BACKGROUND: In the United States, disparities in gestational age at birth by maternal race, ethnicity, and geography are theorized to be related, in part, to differences in individual- and neighborhood-level socioeconomic status (SES). Yet, few studies have examined their combined effects or whether associations vary by maternal race and ethnicity and United States Census region.

METHODS: We assembled data from 34 cohorts in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program representing 10,304 participants who delivered a liveborn, singleton infant from 2000 through 2019. We investigated the combined associations of maternal education level, neighborhood deprivation index (NDI), and Index of Concentration at the Extremes for racial residential segregation (ICERace) on gestational weeks at birth using linear regression and on gestational age at birth categories (preterm, early term, post-late term relative to full term) using multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS: After adjustment for NDI and ICERace, gestational weeks at birth was significantly lower among those with a high school diploma or less (-0.31 weeks, 95% CI: -0.44, -0.18), and some college (-0.30 weeks, 95% CI: -0.42, -0.18) relative to a master’s degree or higher. Those with a high school diploma or less also had an increased odds of preterm (aOR 1.59, 95% CI: 1.20, 2.10) and early term birth (aOR 1.26, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.51). In adjusted models, NDI quartile and ICERace quartile were not associated with gestational weeks at birth. However, higher NDI quartile (most deprived) associated with an increased odds of early term and late term birth, and lower ICERace quartile (least racially privileged) associated with a decreased odds of late or post-term birth. When stratifying by region, gestational weeks at birth was lower among those with a high school education or less and some college only among those living in the Northeast or Midwest. When stratifying by race and ethnicity, gestational weeks at birth was lower among those with a high school education or less only for the non-Hispanic White category.

CONCLUSION: In this study, maternal education was consistently associated with shorter duration of pregnancy and increased odds of preterm birth, including in models adjusted for NDI and ICERace.

PMID:38098826 | PMC:PMC10719953 | DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2023.1165089