European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 708–714 | Cite as

The association of low socio-economic status in metropolitan adelaide with maternal demographic and obstetric characteristics and pregnancy outcome

  • O. Jonas
  • D. Roder
  • A. Chan


The South Australian perinatal statistics collection for 1988 was used to consider the association of low socio-economic status in metropolitan Adelaide (South Australia) with maternal demographic and obstetric characteristics and pregnancy outcome in 12047 singleton births. Socio-economic status — low, middle or high — was inferred from the socio-economic rating of the postcode of residence.

Chi-squared analyses were carried out to test for significant trends in proportions of pregnancy and pregnancy outome variables across the socio-economic groupings. There was trend for the proportions of adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes to decrease with increasing level of socio-economic status.

Logistic regression analysis, adjusted for maternal age, marital status, race, parity and gestational age, confirmed the findings of the trend analyses, namely that mothers from the poor socio-economic areas were at a greater risk for poor pregnancy outcome. These poor outcomes included Apgar scores of less that 7 at both 1 and 5 minutes after birth, delay in onset of regular breathing of 5 minutes or longer; the need for intubation; the use of narcotic antagonists; low birthweight of under 2500 g; the need for special nursey care; and neonatal death.

Key words

Socio-economic status Pregnancy outcome Trend analysis 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ash S.,Fosjer C.C.,Truswell A.S.,et al. (1989): Maternal weight gain, smoking, and other factors in pregnancy as predictors of infant birth-weight in Sydney women - Aust. NZ J. Obstet. Gynaecol.29: 212–219.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berkowitz G.S. (1981): An epidemiological study of preterm labour - Am. J. Epidemiol.113: 81–92.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chan A., Macharper T., Rohrsheim R., et al. (1990): Pregnancy outcome in South Australia 1988. Pregnancy Outcome Unit, Epidemiology Branch -South Australian Health Commission: April 1990.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ericson A.,Eriksson M.,Westerholm P.,et al. (1984): Pregnancy outcome and social indicators in Sweden -Acta Paediatr. Scand.73: 69–74.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fedrick J. andAnderson A.B.M. (1976): Factors associated with spontaneous pre-term birth - Br. J. Obstet. Gynaecol.83: 342–350.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Linn S.,Schoenbaum S.C.,Morrison R.R.,et al. (1983): The association of marijuana use with outcome of pregnancy - AJPH73: 1161–1164.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lumely J.,Correy I.F.,Newmann N.M.,et al. (1985): Low birthweight in Tasmania 1975–1983: the effect of socio-economic status - Aust. Paediatr. J.21: 13–14.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    McAanarney E.R. (1987): Young maternal age and adverse neonatal outcome - AJDC141: 1053–1059.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    McGee D.L. (1986): Epidemiologic programs for computers and calculators. A program for logistic regression on the IBM PC - Am. J. Epidem.124: 702–705.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mills J.L.,Graubard B.I.,Harley E.E.,et al. (1984): Maternal alcohol consumption and birth weight: How much drinking during pregnancy is safe? -JAMA252: 1875–1879.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morrison J.,Najman J.M.,Williams G.M.,et al. (1989): Socio-economic status and pregnancy outcome - Br. J. Obstet Gynaecol.96: 298–307.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Schwethelm B.,Margolis L.H.,Miller C.,et al. (1989): Risk status and pregnancy outcome among Medicaid recipients - Am. J. Prev. Med.5: 157–163.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    South Australian Health Commission (1990): A social health atlas of South Australia - Adelaide: April 1990.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stein Z. andKline J. (1983): Smoking, alcohol and reproduction - AJPH73: 1151–1156.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Taylor R. (1979): Health and class in Australia - New Doctor13: 22–28.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Walpole L.,Zubrick S. andPontre J. (1989): Confounding variables in studying the effects of maternal alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy - J. Epidem. Comm. Health43: 153–161.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gustav Fischer 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Jonas
    • 1
  • D. Roder
    • 1
  • A. Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Epidemiology Branch - Public and Environmental Health DivisionSouth Australian Health Commission - Adelaide Citi CentreAdelaideSouth Australia

Personalised recommendations