Nav: Home

Police killings of unarmed black Americans may have health impacts for nearby unborn black infants

December 04, 2019

Pregnant Black women give birth to infants with smaller birth weights and shorter gestational ages if they live near the site of incidents in which unarmed Blacks are killed by police during their first or second trimester, according to a new study. The results illustrate how police violence viewed as the result of structural racism and discrimination may affect the next generation of Black Americans before they are even born, contributing to infant mortality and impacting cognitive development, ADHD, and future test scores. Joscha Legewie, the author of the study, emphasizes that the findings can encourage lawmakers and public health officials to consider the community-wide effects of police violence when shaping public policy. To study the impact of police killings on infant health, Legewie linked statistics from 3.9 million births in California to data on 1,891 police killings in the state between 2005 and 2017, including 164 cases involving unarmed Black victims. He compared birth weight and gestational age for Black infants in areas exposed to police violence before and after police killings of unarmed Blacks. Legewie also compared the health of infants born to siblings who either were or were not exposed to police killings during pregnancy. The results suggest that only unborn infants whose mothers lived near an incident during the first or second trimester of pregnancy were affected, and the effect was limited to police killings of unarmed Blacks. These health disparities were not identified for Black infants when armed Blacks or either armed or unarmed whites, or Hispanics were killed nearby. "I find that the effect of police killings is unique to unarmed Black victims, which makes me confident that this is not just general violence and crime," said Legewie. "The effect seems to be driven by the perceived injustice, discrimination and fear related to police killings of unarmed black victims."

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Pregnancy Articles:

Medication use during pregnancy is common in women with preeclampsia
Use of medications during pregnancy is more common in women with preeclampsia than in those without, according to a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology analysis of women who gave birth at a hospital in Finland in 2002-2016.
Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.
Opioid use disorder in pregnancy: 5 things to know
Opioid use is increasing in pregnancy as well as the general population.
Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.
New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond
The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby.
Obesity in early pregnancy linked to pregnancy complications
In a prospective study published in Obesity of 18,481 pregnant women in China who had never given birth before, obesity in early pregnancy was linked to higher risks of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and large birth weight in newborns.
Possible link between autism and antidepressants use during pregnancy
An international team led by Duke-NUS Medical School has found a potential link between autistic-like behaviour in adult mice and exposure to a common antidepressant in the womb.
Immigrant women more likely to be overweight during pregnancy
A new study in the Journal of Public Health finds that women in Norway from immigrant backgrounds are more likely to be overweight during pregnancy.
Stillbirths more likely if diabetes in pregnancy not diagnosed
Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy but are not diagnosed are much more likely to experience stillbirth than women without the condition, according to new research.
Do economic conditions affect pregnancy outcomes?
Economic downturn during early pregnancy was linked with modest increases in preterm birth in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab