Maternal race/ethnicity and predictors of pregnancy and infant outcomes

Shyang Yun Pamela K. Shiao, Claire M. Andrews, Rebecca Jo Helmreich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective. To examine predictors of pregnancy and infant outcomes, including maternal race/ethnicity. Design. Prospective and observational follow-up of high-risk pregnancies and births. Participants. Three hundred fifty-four mothers and their preterm and/or high-risk live-born neonates were closely followed in three tertiary care centers from the prenatal to postnatal periods for potential high-risk and/or preterm births that required neonatal resuscitations. Major Outcome Measures. Pregnancy complications, birth complications, and infant outcomes were examined in conjunction with maternal factors, including preexisting health problems, health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, prenatal visits), and the birth setting (tertiary care centers or community hospitals). Results. About 22% of these infants were transferred into the tertiary care centers from the community hospitals right after birth; the rest were born in the centers. According to regression analyses, predictors of the birth setting were race (White vs. non-White), maternal health behaviors, pregnancy complications, fetal distress, and the presence of congenital defects for infants (p <.001). Predictors for fetal distress included race (Whites) and pregnancy-induced hypertension (p <.003). Predictors for lower birth weight included race (non-Whites), maternal cigarette smoking, pregnancy complications, fetal distress, and congenital defects (p <.001). Infant mortality rate was 3.9% for these high-risk infants, with the highest rate in infants born to Black mothers (8%). Conclusions. There are obvious health disparities among White and non-White women experiencing high-risk pregnancies and births. Future studies are needed to develop interventions targeted to different racial/ethnic groups during pregnancy to reduce preterm and high-risk births.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalBiological research for nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Infant outcomes
  • Pregnancy
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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