Social disadvantage during pregnancy: effects on gestational age and birthweight

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Abstract

Objective: Whether psychosocial adversity during pregnancy impacts fetal health outcomes at birth remains underexplored. This is a critical issue given significant social disadvantage and psychosocial stress faced by pregnant women worldwide. Study design: Measures of social disadvantage and psychological factors, and medical/reproductive and nutritional health status in pregnant women were obtained at each trimester. Using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), we investigated the relationship of forms of adversity to each other and to infant gestational age, and birthweight. Results: Among 399 singletons, Social Disadvantage significantly predicted gestational age (p = 0.003), and residual birthweight (p = 0.006). There was a 0.4 week decrease in gestational age and a 3% decrease in birthweight for each standard deviation increase in Social Disadvantage. Conclusion: Significant negative effects of social adversity on the developing fetus were found. Notably, these effects emerged despite good prenatal care and after accounting for maternal age and medical reproductive risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

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