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Congenital malformations in offspring of Hispanic and African-American women in California, 1989-1997.

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March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, Berkeley, California 94710, USA.



Little is known about risks of most specific birth defects among infants born to U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanic or African-American women.


Using data from a large population-based registry, we explored risks of selected congenital malformation phenotypes in offspring of U.S.-born and foreign-born Hispanic and African-American women, relative to non-Hispanic white women, in California. Approximately 2.2 million live births and stillbirths occurred during the ascertainment period, 1989-1997. Information on maternal racial-ethnic background and other covariates was obtained from birth certificate and fetal death files.


Adjusted relative risks (ARRs) for the 20 groupings of malformations designated by three-digit British Pediatric Association (BPA) codes ranged from 0.6 (genital organ malformations, among infants born to foreign-born Hispanics) to 1.7 (anencephaly, also among infants born to foreign-born Hispanics). Grouping by four-digit BPA codes revealed that among infants born to U.S.-born Hispanics, 46 of the ARRs were < or = 0.8 and 12 were > or = 1.3; among infants born to foreign-born Hispanics, 75 of the ARRs were < or = 0.8 and 15 were > or = 1.3; and among infants born to African-American women, 45 ARRs were < or = 0.8 and 25 were > or = 1.3. For each racial-ethnic group of women, the observed variability in risks covered most organ systems.


Although the results suggested that (in comparison with non-Hispanic whites) each racial-ethnic group was more likely to have reduced risk for specific defects (rather than elevated risk), in general, the range of the relative risks was comparatively narrow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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