Racism shown to cause low birth weight in babies born to Latina moms

There are many reasons already associated with low birth weight and they mostly have to do with healthcare, including smoking and poor nutrition. But now, a new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, has found that racism also plays a role, particularly when it's against Latina and black moms-to-be. The main reason, according to the study, is that when these women face discrimination they get depressed. 

Researchers defined discrimination as not being treated with respect, being called names, and receiving service that was not up to par--the kind of behavior that we all know many minorities face on a regular basis in this country. 


Yale University researchers conducted the study by interviewing more than 400 14- to 21-year-old minority women--the majority being Latinas--during their second and third trimesters. And then when their babies were six and 12 months old. The results of this particular study coincide with others that have proven that clinical depression places women at a greater risk of delivering babies with low birth weight. 

It's really sad and discouraging to see that racism and discrimination can have an effect even on those who haven't been born yet. Low birth weight is a serious issue for it can cause all kind of ill effects including learning disabilities and a delay in the development of motor skills. In other words, the effects of racism can start super early and can last a lifetime. 

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It's disgusting to think that those who discriminate won't let up even when dealing with a pregnant woman. I can't help but wonder if they would act differently if they knew the far-reaching effects of their racism and discriminatory acts. 

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Image via Bianca Montano Photography/flickr

Topics: about pregnancy  health  racism