Effect of maternal race on outcome of preterm infants in the military

D. N. Greenberg, B. A. Yoder, R. H. Clark, C. A. Butzin, Donald Null

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Previous studies suggest that low birth weight black infants have less morbidity and birthweight-specific mortality during the perinatal period than low birth weight white infants. We studied the effect of maternal race on outcome in preterm infants born at a military hospital that offers free access to obstetric and neonatal care. Between January 1, 1986, and December 31, 1991, data were prospectively collected on all 667 infants delivered at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center with an estimated gestational age of less than 35 weeks. Three hundred ninety-two white infants and 165 black infants were included in the data analysis. The mean (±SD) birth weight was 1701 ± 65 g for white infants and 1462 ± 66 g for black infants. The mean estimated gestational age was 31.0 ± 3.2 weeks for white infants and 29.9 ± 3.8 weeks for black infants. Preeclampsia was more frequent in black mothers than in white mothers for the entire study population (21% vs 14%), but the birth weight differential between races remained after correction for preeclampsia. There were no significant differences between races in stillbirths, gender, maternal age, maternal transfer status, number of prenatal visits, or percentages of mothers with small-for-gestational-age infants, multiple- gestation infants, prolonged rupture of membranes, or initial prenatal visit during the first trimester. Intraventricular hemorrhage was more frequent in white infants at 27 through 29 weeks estimated gestational age (50% vs 13%). There were no significant differences between the two groups in survival or in the occurrence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. It is concluded that preterm black infants are smaller than preterm white infants when matched for gestational age despite essentially equal utilization of prenatal care. However, maternal race has little direct effect on the survival of liveborn preterm infants in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-577
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • birth weight
  • gestational age
  • infant mortality
  • low birth weight
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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