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J Community Health. 2012 Feb;37(1):137-42. doi: 10.1007/s10900-011-9427-x.

The impact of birth spacing on subsequent feto-infant outcomes among community enrollees of a federal healthy start project.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.

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  • J Community Health. 2012 Feb;37(1):143.


Numerous studies have shown an association between shorter birth intervals, and several adverse fetal outcomes, including low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), and small for gestational age (SGA). However, there is little evidence on the effectiveness of interconception care on fetal outcomes associated with sub-optimal interpregnancy interval (IPI). The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of the Federal Healthy Start's interconception care services on IPI and fetal growth outcomes. This is a retrospective cohort study used records from the Central Hillsborough Healthy Start program in Tampa, Florida linked to Florida vital statistics data covering the period 2002-2009. Only first and second pregnancies were considered, and interpregnancy interval (IPI), the exposure of interest, was categorized in months as 0-5, 6-17, 18-23, and ≥24. The following feto-infant morbidities were considered as primary outcomes: LBW, PTB, and SGA. A composite variable coding the presence of any of the aforementioned adverse fetal events was also created. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was applied Overall, mothers with the shortest IPI (0-5 months: AOR = 1.39, 95% CI 1.23-1.56) and longest IPI (≥60 months: AOR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.03-1.23) were at a greater risk for adverse fetal growth outcomes, compared to the referent category (18-23 months). Our findings support the need for inter conception care that addresses IPI and delayed childbearing among women.

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