Nav: Home

Immigration raids are linked to low birth weights among Latina mothers

February 01, 2017

Some types of Immigration policy and enforcement can negatively affect the well-being of Latino immigrants, but few studies have examined the repercussions to the health of Latino newborns. New findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that there was an increase in the number of low birth weight babies born to US-born and immigrant Latina mothers after a search at a kosher slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in Iowa, in which federal authorities arrested nearly 400 immigrant workers without required identity papers.

The search, known as the Postville raid of 2008, is an extreme example of the spread and magnitude of racialized stress factors that Latinos face throughout the US. It was, at the time, the largest single- site federal immigration raid in US history. The impact of this event created conditions that lend insight into the lasting effects of stress, which are often difficult to measure.

This study examined ethnicity-specific patterns in birth outcomes before and after the Postville raid. Researchers analyzed Iowa birth certificate data to compare the risk of babies born at a low birth weight, by ethnicity and national origin. The analysis compared infants born in the 37 weeks following the raid to those born in the same 37 week period the previous year- 2007.

Findings indicated that infants born to immigrant and U.S.-born Latina mothers had a 24% greater risk of being born at a low birth weight when compared to the same period one year earlier. No such change was observed among infants born to non-Latina white mothers. Furthermore, analyses revealed a higher risk of moderate premature birth (32 to <37 weeks) after the raid among Latina mothers.

This study provides evidence in the repercussions of selective immigration policies and enforcement on American Latinos. The effects could put their health at significant risk, even for U.S.-born Latina mothers facing no risk of deportation themselves.

"In the wake of the Postville immigration raid, U.S.-born and immigrant Latino families' feared deportations and follow-up raids, and faced increased economic and social marginalization," said lead author Nicole Novak. "These stressors permeated the lives of both U.S.-born and foreign-born Latina mothers, potentially activating harmful physiological responses that could result in the poor birth outcomes we documented among their babies."

The paper "Change in birth outcomes among infants born to Latina mothers after a major immigration raid" is available at: 10.1093/ije/dyw346.
Direct correspondence to:

Nicole L. Novak
University of Michigan Population Studies Center
P.O. Box 1248
426 Thompson St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248

To request a copy of the study, please contact:

Daniel Luzer

Sharing on social media? Find Oxford Journals online at @OxfordJournals

Oxford University Press USA

Related Low Birth Weight Articles:

Internet-based weight-loss program for low-income women after child birth
An internet-based weight loss program was effective in promoting significant weight loss in low-income postpartum women over 12 months, according to a study published by JAMA.
Study shows link between maternal marijuana use and low birth weight
Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University and Brescia University College found that women who used marijuana while pregnant were almost three times more likely to have an infant with low birth weight.
Link found between financial strain and low-birth-weight babies
A financially strapped pregnant woman's worries about the arrival and care of her little one could contribute to birth of a smaller, medically vulnerable infant, a new study suggests.
Both low and high birth weight linked to fatty liver disease in children
Both high and low birth weights show increased risk for developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Living downwind of coal-fired power plant could increase risk of low birth weight
Drawing on evidence from a Pennsylvania power plant located upwind of New Jersey, a group of researchers led by Muzhe Yang of Lehigh University studied live singleton births that occurred from 1990 to 2006 in the area downwind of the plant.
Low birth weight babies at higher risk for mental health problems later in life
Babies born with extremely low birth weight are not only at risk for physical problems but are also more likely to experience mental health problems later in life, according to an analysis of research conducted over nearly 30 years.
Study: Depression in pregnancy, low birth weight tied to biomarker
A biomarker in pregnant women is linked to depression and low fetal birth weight.
Maternal gastric bypass may be associated with low birth weight babies
Women who undergo gastric bypass surgery for weight loss risk giving birth to babies that are small or have lower average birth weights.
Babies born with a low birth weight may be less active in later life
Individuals who are born with a low birth weight are less likely to be good at sports at school or participate in exercise later on in life.
Steroid treatment in very low birth weight infants may contribute to vision problems
It has long been suspected that steroids may have negative neurodevelopmental effects on very premature infants.

Related Low Birth Weight Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...