Ethnicity and first birth: age, smoking, delivery, gestation, weight and feeding: Scottish health and ethnicity linkage study

N. Bansal, J. W. T. Chalmers, C. M. Fischbacher, M. F. C. Steiner, R. S. Bhopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: We linked census and health service data sets to address the shortage of information comparing maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcomes by ethnic group in Scotland. Methods: Retrospective cohort study linking the 2001 National Census for Scotland and hospital obstetric data (2001–08), comparing maternal age, smoking status, gestational age, caesarean section rates, birthweight, preterm birth and breastfeeding rates by ethnic group. Results: In all, 144 344 women were identified as having had a first birth between 1 May 2001 and 30 April 2008. White Scottish mothers were younger [mean age 27.3 years; 95% confidence interval (CI): 27.3, 27.4] than other white groups and most non-white groups. They had the highest smoking rates (25.8%; CI: 25.5, 26.0) and the lowest rates of breastfeeding at 6–8 weeks (23.4%; CI: 23.1, 23.6), with most of the other groups being around 40%. Women from non-white minority ethnic groups in Scotland tended to have babies of lower birthweight (e.g. Pakistani mean birthweight–3105 g, white Scottish–3356 g), even after adjustment for gestational age, maternal age, education, smoking and housing tenure. This effect was more noticeable for women born in the UK. White English, Irish and other white babies tended to have higher birthweights. There was little variation between groups in caesarean section rates. Conclusions: Pregnant women from ethnic minority populations in Scotland have more favourable health behaviour than the white Scottish, although the non-white groups tend to have lower birthweight. Further exploration of the reasons for these differences has potential to benefit women from the majority population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Early online date19 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2014


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