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Published May 17, 2021 | Version v1.0.0
Masters Thesis Open

Understanding Racial Disparities in Low Birth Weight


This paper summarizes the research on the epidemiology of low birth weight (LBW) births focusing on the evidence about disparities in low birth weight for Black infants in the US. Studies have continually shown that Black mothers and their infants are at higher risk for pregnancy-related complications such as LBW. LBW, a leading cause of infant death for this racial group, is associated with a multitude of risk factors, with the major two dimensions being health status and health care. Evidence suggests that the accumulation of chronic stress over a lifetime culminates in health problems for Black women, thus leading to the conditions for LBW to occur. There is growing acceptance of the context of societal and systemic racism that creates a toxic and harmful environment for Black mothers and how this results in physiological stress that directly causes infant and maternal mortality. Although racial disparities in low birth weight are widely known in the medical community, prevention requires addressing the harmful social conditions that underlie these inequitable outcomes. This paper focuses on the way in which Black women and infants are disproportionately burdened with the effects of LBW. It concludes by discussing how changes can, with careful consideration and implementation, drive efforts to protect the Black infants and mothers as part of a holistic, patient-centered approach.


JonesKiana_LATE_84018_11531279_CE Final Draft 5-25.pdf
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Additional details

March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023