Two Emory University studies have found connections between racism and premature birth and infant mortality in African American babies.
The stress created in women’s bodies after decades of dealing with racism, increases the odds of a mother not carrying her child to full term.
In 2012, 11.5 percent of American children were born preterm, the medical community’s shorthand for a child who spends 38 weeks or less in their mother’s womb. That figure translates to about 15 million premature infants last year. Despite a range of medical advances, children born early often struggle to survive. Once they arrive early, preterm babies are more likely to face short- and long-term health challenges that can translate into difficulty learning.
There is also evidence that racism can alter a child’s ability to learn. In turn, there lives can reproduce inequality, poverty and long-term disadvantage.
Children who are born prematurely are more than one-third more likely to die within their first year of life or suffer from blindness, cerebral palsy, breathing and learning challenges that can last a lifetime.
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