Maternal Education and Perinatal Outcomes Among Spanish Women Residing in Southern Spain (2001–2011)
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- Juárez, S., Revuelta-Eugercios, B.A., Ramiro-Fariñas, D. et al. Matern Child Health J (2014) 18: 1814. doi:10.1007/s10995-013-1425-4
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Evidence suggests that educational differences in perinatal outcomes have increased in some countries (Eastern Europe) while remained stable in others (Scandinavian countries). However, less is known about the experience of Southern Europe. This study aims to evaluate the association between maternal education and perinatal outcomes derived from birthweight (low birthweight and macrosomia) and gestational age (pre-term and post-term births) among Spaniards living in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia during the period 2001–2011 (around 19 % of births in Spain); and to evaluate whether the educational differences narrowed or widened during that period, which includes both an economic boom (2001–2008) and the global economic crisis (2009–2011). This study uses the Andalusian Population Longitudinal Database and the Vital Statistics Data provided by the Spanish National Statistics Institute. We study live and singleton births of Spanish mothers who lived in Andalusia at the time of delivery (n = 404,951). ORs with 95 % confidence intervals (crude and adjusted) were estimated using multinomial regression models. A negative educational gradient is observed in all perinatal outcomes studied (i.e., the higher the educational status, the lower the risk of negative perinatal outcomes). However, when disaggregating the sample in two periods, the gradient is only statistically significant for pre-term birth during 2001–2008, while a full gradient is observed in all perinatal indicators in the period 2009–2011 with an increase in the educational inequalities in macrosomia and post-term. Further studies are needed in order to confirm whether there is a causal association between the widening of the educational differences in perinatal outcomes and the onset of the economic crisis in Spain, or the widening can be explained by other factors, such as changes in childbearing patterns and the composition of women accessing motherhood.