Geographic Differences and Trends in Birth Outcomes 2009-2014: Northeast Tennessee vs Tennessee

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Literature provides evidence for disparities and inequities in health and birth outcomes based on geographical location, which highlight differential mother characteristics. These differences influence behaviors associated with adverse birth outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weight (LBW), the leading causes of infant morbidity and mortality. Consistent with the Healthy People 2020 and Millennium Development goal, to reduce infant morbidity and mortality rates, we sought to compare maternal characteristics and behaviors and the occurrence of adverse birth outcomes in Northeast (NETN) region, as defined by the Tennessee Department of Health, compared to the rest of Tennessee (TN). TN vital statistics birth record data for the years 2009 - 2014 were used in this analysis; n = 20,786 and 482,681 live births for NETN and TN respectively. Bivariate analyses were performed to deduce the demographic and birth characteristics and their proportions across the years. Logistic regression was used to calculate crude odds ratios for pre-pregnancy smokers, with the dependent variables of preterm birth and LBW. We followed with adjusted odds ratios, which controlled for mother’s demographic variables; age, education years and reported household income and mother’s behavioral characteristics; pre-pregnancy cigarette smoking, prenatal care by first trimester and previous preterm birth. From 2009 through 2014, the percentage of teenage mothers decreased for both TN groups, with a larger proportion in NETN (%:13.8,12.2,12.5, 11.9,9.6,9.4) compared to TN (%:12.8,11.8,10.8,10.0,9.0,8.4). A larger percentage of TN mothers did not have a high school degree or completed GED compared to NETN. A larger proportion of NETN mothers were married at the time of birth of the infant (%:60.3,60.5,59.3,58.6,57.6,57.8) compared to TN mothers (%:55.5,55.9,55.9,55.8,56.0,56.0). Over the period, 34% of NETN women smoked during the 3 months prior to pregnancy versus 21% for TN mothers. Through the third trimester 24% of NETN mothers reported cigarette smoking compared to 13% of TN mothers. Throughout, more adverse birth outcomes were observed in NETN. Compared to non-smokers, for six consecutive years and overall, the odds of a LBW among pre-pregnancy smoking mothers were higher in NETN (odds ratio (OR):2.16,1.73,2.56,2.03, 2.02,1.83,2.05) than in TN (OR:1.51,1.53,1.56,1.56,1.56,1.52,1.54), p-values


Johnson City, TN

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