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Black infants face a high risk of premature birth and complications

The LA Times reports on a stark racial divide in the delivery room.

Black women…are 1 1/2 times as likely as white women to give birth prematurely, and their babies are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday…

Some of the risk factors for these children are due to their socioeconomic situations.

…Researchers once blamed a lack of prenatal care for the disparity. Now, research shows that the explanation is much more complex, rooted in the years before the women even get pregnant. Black women are more likely to be poor, have less education, lack health insurance and have chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

But even when the economic playing field is leveled, black children are still at a disadvantage from the beginning of their lives.

Socioeconomics and medical care don’t fully explain why black women disproportionately lose their babies. Even black women who are highly educated are at higher risk than white women with less education.

The Times reports that healthcare reform may improve services for parents in need by providing improved preventative care and family planning services.

Recently, the PBS NewsHour has explored how your healthcare may change under the new plan. View complete coverage of health care reform on our health page.

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