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STUDY OF BIRTH TRENDS MAY AID IN PRENATAL CARE

SHARE STUDY OF BIRTH TRENDS MAY AID IN PRENATAL CARE

Federal health officials say a new study of birth trends among U.S. residents can help doctors tailor prenatal programs to fit their patients' needs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that births were increasing tremendously among racial and ethnic minorities, but "they all have very different trends," said CDC statistician Stephanie Ventura.There were 70.9 births per 1,000 U.S. women ages 15 to 44 in 1990, the latest year statistics were available.

The rate for whites was 62.8; blacks, 89; Hispanics, 107.7; Asians/Pacific Islanders, 69.6; Indians and Eskimos, 76.2.

Among subgroups, the rate varied even more: from 40.8 for Japanese-Americans to 118.9 for Mexican-Americans.

Hawaiians, blacks and Hispanics had the highest birth rates among teenagers 15-19 - 120, 116 and 100 respectively. The lowest were among Chinese-Americans, 4.7, and Japanese-Americans, 10.4.

The risk for low-birthweight babies was lowest among Chinese-Americans, 4.7 percent, who also had the fewest births to unmarried mothers, 5 percent.

The CDC now is matching the data with such birth threats as smoking, drinking and maternal weight gain.

Among the early findings: Hawaiian mothers weren't at risk for low-birthweight babies despite the prevalence of teenage births because they had the highest maternal weight gain.