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Race, Racism, and Racial Disparities in Adverse Birth Outcomes


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: June 2008 - Volume 51 - Issue 2 - p 360-370
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31816f28de
Societal Factors in Pregnancy: Why Worry?

While the biologic authenticity of race remains a contentious issue, the social significance of race is indisputable. The chronic stress of racism and the social inequality it engenders may be underlying social determinants of persistent racial disparities in health, including infant mortality, preterm delivery, and low birth weight. This article describes the problem of racial disparities in adverse birth outcomes; outlines the multidimensional nature of racism and the pathways by which it may adversely affect health; and discusses the implications for clinical practice.

School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Correspondence: Tyan Parker Dominguez, PhD, MPH, MSW, School of Social Work, MC0411, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.