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      Educational disparities in perinatal health in Denmark in the first decade of the 21st century: a register-based cohort study


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          To investigate socioeconomic differences in six perinatal health outcomes in Denmark in the first decade of the 21st century.


          A population-based cohort study.


          Danish national registries.


          A total of 646 829 live born children and 3076 stillborn children (≥22+0 weeks of gestation) born in Denmark from 2000 to 2009. We excluded children with implausible relations between birth weight and gestational age (n=644), children without information on maternal country of origin (n=138) and implausible values of maternal year of birth (n=36).

          Main outcome measures

          We investigated the following perinatal health outcomes: stillbirth, neonatal and postneonatal mortality, small-for-gestational age, preterm birth grated into moderate preterm, very preterm and extremely preterm, and congenital anomalies registered in the first year of life.


          Maternal educational level was inversely associated with all adverse perinatal outcomes. For all examined outcomes, the risk association displayed a clear gradient across the educational levels. The associations remained after adjustment for maternal age, maternal country of origin and maternal year of birth. Compared with mothers with vocational education, mothers with more than 15 years of education had an adjusted risk ratio for stillbirth of 0.64(95% CI 0.56 to 0.72). The corresponding adjusted risk ratios for neonatal mortality, postneonatal mortality, congenital anomalies, moderate preterm birth and small-for-gestational age were, respectively, 0.79(95% CI 0.67 to 0.93), 0.57(95% CI 0.42 to 0.78), 0.87(95% CI 0.83 to 0.91), 0.80(95% CI 0.77 to 0.83) and 0.83(95% CI 0.81 to 0.85).


          Substantial educational inequalities in perinatal health were still present in Denmark in the first decade of the 21st century.

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          Most cited references23

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          Socioeconomic position and the risk of preterm birth--a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort.

          Low socioeconomic position is generally associated with increased risk of preterm birth, but it remains unclear whether the inequality depends on the socioeconomic measure used, if the associations differ according to the degree of prematurity, and how individual level risk factors mediate the association. The hazard ratios (HR) of preterm birth associated with five different measures of socioeconomic position and three degrees of preterm birth were analysed in a dataset of 75 890 singleton pregnancies (1996-2002) from the Danish National Birth Cohort. This, and the mediating role of selected individual level risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, binge drinking, pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain) were estimated, using Cox regression analyses. Mothers with 12 years of education and the association interacted with parity, while income and occupation affected the risk to a lesser degree. The adjusted HR for less educated nulliparous and parous women were 1.22 (95% CI 1.04-1.42) and 1.56 (95% CI 1.31-1.87), respectively, compared with women with >12 years of education. For parous women with <10 years of education inclusion of smoking in the model decreased the HR of preterm birth to 1.43 (95% CI 1.19-1.72). Maternal educational level was the strongest predictor of preterm birth among five socioeconomic measures and the gradient did not differ significantly according to the degree of preterm birth. For parous women smoking explained some of the educational gradient but in general the selected risk factors only reduced the relative educational gradient in preterm birth marginally.
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            Maternal overweight and obesity in early pregnancy and risk of infant mortality: a population based cohort study in Sweden

            Objective To investigate associations between maternal overweight and obesity and infant mortality outcomes, including cause-specific mortality. Design Population based cohort study. Setting and participants 1 857 822 live single births in Sweden 1992–2010. Main outcome measures Associations between maternal body mass index (BMI) in early pregnancy and risks of infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality, overall and stratified by gestational length and by causes of infant death. Odds ratios were adjusted for maternal age, parity, smoking, education, height, country of birth, and year of delivery. Results Infant mortality rates increased from 2.4/1000 among normal weight women (BMI 18.5–24.9) to 5.8/1000 among women with obesity grade 3 (BMI ≥40.0). Compared with normal weight, overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9) and obesity grade 1 (BMI 30.0–34.9) were associated with modestly increased risks of infant mortality (adjusted odds ratios 1.25 (95% confidence interval 1.16 to 1.35) and 1.37 (1.22 to 1.53), respectively), and obesity grade 2 (BMI 35.0–39.9) and grade 3 were associated with more than doubled risks (adjusted odds ratios 2.11 (1.79 to 2.49) and 2.44 (1.88 to 3.17)). In analyses stratified by preterm and term births, maternal BMI was related to risks of infant mortality primarily in term births (≥37 weeks), where risks of deaths due to birth asphyxia and other neonatal morbidities increased with maternal overweight and obesity. Obesity grade 2–3 was also associated with increased infant mortality due to congenital anomalies and sudden infant death syndrome. Conclusions Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with increased risks of infant mortality due to increased mortality risk in term births and an increased prevalence of preterm births. Maternal overweight and obesity may be an important preventable risk factor for infant mortality in many countries.
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              Contribution of Risk Factors to Extremely, Very and Moderately Preterm Births – Register-Based Analysis of 1,390,742 Singleton Births

              Background Preterm birth, defined as birth occurring before 37 weeks gestation, is one of the most significant contributors to neonatal mortality and morbidity, with long-term adverse consequences for health, and cognitive outcome. Objective The aim of the present study was to identify risk factors of preterm birth (≤36+6 weeks gestation) among singleton births and to quantify the contribution of risk factors to socioeconomic disparities in preterm birth. Methods A retrospective population–based case-control study using data derived from the Finnish Medical Birth Register. A total population of singleton births in Finland from 1987−2010 (n = 1,390,742) was reviewed. Results Among all singleton births (n = 1,390,742), 4.6% (n = 63,340) were preterm (<37 weeks), of which 0.3% (n = 4,452) were classed as extremely preterm, 0.4% (n = 6,213) very preterm and 3.8% (n = 54,177) moderately preterm. Smoking alone explained up to 33% of the variation in extremely, very and moderately preterm birth incidence between high and the low socioeconomic status (SES) groups. Reproductive risk factors (placental abruption, placenta previa, major congenital anomaly, amniocentesis, chorionic villus biopsy, anemia, stillbirth, small for gestational age (SGA) and fetal sex) altogether explained 7.7−25.0% of the variation in preterm birth between SES groups. Conclusions Smoking explained about one third of the variation in preterm birth groups between SES groups whereas the contribution of reproductive risk factors including placental abruption, placenta previa, major congenital anomaly, amniocentesis, chorionic villus biopsy, anemia, stillbirth, SGA and fetal sex was up to one fourth.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                8 November 2018
                : 8
                : 11
                : e023531
                [1] departmentSection of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health , University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen, Denmark
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Josephine Funck Bilsteen; jfbi@ 123456sund.ku.dk
                Author information
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                : 13 April 2018
                : 13 July 2018
                : 20 September 2018
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004785, NordForsk;
                Custom metadata

                health inequalities,congenital anomalies,preterm birth,small-for-gestational age,stillbirth,infant mortality


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