Journal Article

Environmental Contributions to Disparities in Pregnancy Outcomes

Marie Lynn Miranda, Pamela Maxson and Sharon Edwards

in Epidemiologic Reviews

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 31, issue 1, pages 67-83
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0193-936X
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1478-6729 | DOI:

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One of the most persistent disparities in American health status is the pronounced difference in birth outcomes between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women. Poor pregnancy outcomes have a substantial impact on mortality, morbidity, and health care costs. Increasing evidence indicates that environmental exposures are associated with poor birth outcomes. This paper reviews the latest research on how environmental exposures affect pregnancy outcomes and then discusses how these exposures may be embedded within a context of significant social and host factor stress. The analysis suggests that environmental, social, and host factors are cumulatively stressing non-Hispanic black women and that this cumulative stress may be a cause of the persistent disparities in pregnancy outcomes.

Keywords: environment; environmental pollution; health status disparities; infant, low birth weight; pregnancy outcome; premature birth; public health

Journal Article.  8846 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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