Immigrant parents at lower risk of preterm birth than Canadian-born couples

December 16, 2015

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2015 - Couples who immigrate to Canada are generally at lower risk of having a preterm birth than Canadian-born couples, new research has found.

The findings reflect the 'healthy immigrant effect,' which suggests that people who emigrate tend to have better health outcomes than both Canadian-born couples and those who remain in their country of origin, according to the study published online today in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

The rate of preterm birth, which is defined as birth before 37 weeks of gestation, was on average three per cent lower among immigrant couples to Canada than the rate of preterm birth in their country of origin.

The main causes of preterm birth include spontaneous preterm labour, premature rupture of membranes, and pre-eclampsia -- a condition characterized by high blood pressure and elevated protein in pregnant women.

"Newcomers have a generally healthier lifestyle and experience less obesity than Canadian-born couples," said Dr. Joel Ray, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital and researcher in its Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. "They're also at lower risk of preterm birth than couples who stay in their country of origin, which may be explained by the fact that we are selecting some of the healthiest immigrants to come to Canada."

But there were exceptions to these findings, suggesting that the healthy immigrant effect doesn't apply equally to all immigrant groups. The researchers found that the risk of preterm birth in Ontario was highest among couples who originated from Guyana, Congo, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Ghana and the Philippines.

Other research by Dr. Ray and colleagues at St. Michael's found that women from the Philippines, Ghana and Jamaica had some of the highest rates of pre-eclampsia, which is partly due to their higher rates of chronic hypertension.

Dr. Ray said that women originating from these countries who have elevated blood pressure in early pregnancy should be considered for low-dose Aspirin, which helps prevent preeclampsia.

The paper looked at more than 1.2 million births in Ontario among parents from 184 countries, between 2002 and 2011.

"While most immigrants have lower rates of compared to Canadian-born couples and those who stay in their home country, we know there are exceptional cases, where immigrant women are actually at higher risks," said Dr. Ray. "These women could stand to benefit from greater clinical screening and surveillance during pregnancy."
-end-
About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Media contact

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr. Ray, please contact:

Corinne Ton That
Communications and Public Affairs
tonthatc@smh.ca
416-864-6060 ext.7178
St. Michael's Hospital

Inspired Care. Inspiring Science.

http://www.stmichaelshospital.com

Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stmikeshospital

St. Michael's Hospital

Related Preterm Birth Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers develop app to determine risk of preterm birth
An improved mobile phone app will help identify women who need special treatments at the right time and reduce emotional and financial burden on families and the NHS.

Point-of-care diagnostic for detecting preterm birth on horizon
A new study provides a first step toward the development of an inexpensive point-of-care diagnostic test to assess the presence of known risk factors for preterm birth in resource-poor areas.

WVU biostatistician studies link between microbiome and preterm birth
Pregnant African American women are more likely than white women to give birth prematurely, but they're underrepresented in studies of preterm birth rates.

3D-printed device detects biomarkers of preterm birth
Preterm birth (PTB) -- defined as birth before the 37th week of gestation -- is the leading complication of pregnancy.

Association of quitting smoking during pregnancy, risk of preterm birth
This study of more than 25 million pregnant women reports on rates of smoking cessation at the start of and during pregnancy and also examines the association of quitting cigarette smoking and the risk of preterm birth.

Blood test developed to predict spontaneous preterm birth
Results from a multicenter study show that five circulating microparticle proteins found in first-trimester blood samples may provide important clues about risk of spontaneous preterm birth.

Scientists gain new insight on triggers for preterm birth
A group of scientists led by Ramkumar Menon at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have gained new insight on a poorly-understood key player in the timing of labor and delivery.

Medically assisted reproduction does not raise risk of preterm birth and low birth weight
Study shows that couples can decide about using medically assisted reproduction free from concerns about increasing the health risks to their baby.

Risk of preterm birth reliably predicted by new test
Scientists at UC San Francisco have developed a test to predict a woman's risk of preterm birth when she is between 15 and 20 weeks pregnant, which may enable doctors to treat them early and thereby prevent severe complications later in the pregnancy.

Preterm birth leaves its mark in the functional networks of the brain
Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Hospital, Finland, have proven that premature birth has a significant and, at the same time, a very selective effect on the functional networks of a child's brain.

Read More: Preterm Birth News and Preterm Birth Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.