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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2002 Aug;24(8):633-40.

Influence of aboriginal and socioeconomic status on birth outcome and maternal morbidity.

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Department of Medicine, Anesthesia, Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK.



To assess the association of Aboriginal and socioeconomic status with birth outcome and maternal morbidity in Alberta.


A retrospective cohort study using Alberta health service and vital statistics data from 1997 to 2000. Aboriginal women registered with the Department of Indian and Northern Development (DIAND) were linked to a personal health number. Low socioeconomic status was defined as either receiving subsidization for the Alberta Health Care Insurance premium or receiving welfare.


Women registered with DIAND and women receiving subsidy or welfare were younger, more often unmarried, smoked more, consumed more alcohol, and abused more illicit drugs than other women in Alberta during the time period studied. Fewer women registered with DIAND and women receiving subsidy or welfare had physician prenatal visits, attended prenatal classes, had forceps or vacuum deliveries, and more of these women frequently had gestation ages less than 37 weeks. Women registered with DIAND had more deliveries in smaller, non-metropolitan facilities; and more of these women delivered outside their region of residence; more had longer lengths of hospital stay; more mothers and neonates were re-admitted to hospital within 28 days of discharge after delivery; fewer delivered small for gestational age neonates; fewer delivered neonates with birth weight less than 2500 g, but more delivered neonates with birth weight greater than 4000 g. There were fewer Caesarean sections in women registered with DIAND (OR = 0.84, 95% CI 0.76-0.93) and in women receiving subsidy or welfare (OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.82-0.93).


Women receiving subsidy or welfare and women registered with DIAND had many demographic similarities and generally had worse maternal and neonatal outcomes than other women in Alberta. Medical system interaction may be different for these two groups of women than it is for other women in Alberta.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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