Maternal health prior to pregnancy and preterm birth among urban, low income black women in Baltimore: the Baltimore Preterm Birth Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Black women have increased risk of preterm birth compared to white women, and overall black women are in poorer health than white women. Recent recommendations to reduce preterm birth have focused on preconception health care. We explore the associations between indicators of maternal prepregnancy health with preterm birth among a sample of black women.


The current study was prospective.


Enrollment occurred in prenatal clinics in Baltimore.


Women (N=922) aged > or =18 were enrolled in the study. Data on maternal health, behaviors, and pregnancy outcome were abstracted from clinical records.

Main outcome measure

Logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between behavioral and health status variables with preterm birth.


In bivariate analysis, alcohol use, drug use and chronic diseases were associated with preterm birth. In the logistic regression analysis, drug use and chronic diseases were associated with preterm birth.


These results demonstrate an association between maternal health and behaviors prior to pregnancy with preterm birth among black women. Providing access to health care prior to pregnancy to address behavioral and health risks may improve pregnancy outcomes among low-income black women.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Orr, ST; Reiter, JP; James, SA; Orr, CA

Published Date

  • January 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 85 - 89

PubMed ID

  • 22774314

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1945-0826

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1049-510X


  • eng