Childbirth and Preterm Infants

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QUESTION: Discuss disparities related to ethnic and cultural groups relative to low birth weight infants and preterm births. Describe the impact of extremely low birth weight babies on family and society (short and long term, including economic considerations, ongoing care considerations, and co-morbidities associated with prematurity). Discuss whether you feel that support services and systems in your community for preterm infants and their families adequately address their needs or not. Explain your answer. Respond to other learners' posts in a manner that initiates or contributes to discussion.

Racial and ethnic disparities in health disproportionately affect minority Americans. One of the greatest challenges facing the US healthcare system is the persistence of disparities in infant and maternal health among the different racial and ethnic groups. This disparity in healthcare outcomes does not appear to be limited to the Black community only, but rather it seems to affect all minority groups. In this context, American Indian/Alaska Native infants have higher death rates than White infants because of higher SIDS rates. The exact cause of these persisting racial disparities remains unexplained. The differences in socioeconomic status, maternal risky behaviors, prenatal care, psychosocial stress, and perinatal infection account for more disparities. Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin have higher IMRs than White infants because of higher LBW rates. One major risk factor for preterm birth is maternal genital infection. Others include extremes of maternal age, maternal cigarette smoking and substance abuse, history of PTD and maternal medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. There are support services and CHC’s available in our area for minority group women, preterm infants and their families to address their needs.

Anachebe, N. ,MD. (2006) RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN INFANT AND MATERNAL MORTALITY
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