What factors link deprivation with premature birth?
The researchers working on this project have already collected extensive data on over 13,000 very preterm births in the former Trent NHS region between 1994 and 2005. In this project, they will perform sophisticated statistical analyses of their data to explore factors that might explain the link between deprivation and premature birth. Previous studies suggest infection might trigger very premature labour. Researchers are therefore trying to find out whether the higher rate of preterm birth in disadvantaged women is due to higher rates of infection Other factors they will study include the mother’s age, birth weight, ethnicity, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, stress, occupation and education. Researchers also hope to find out whether the general level of deprivation in a particular neighbourhood can be used to identify which women are at high risk of giving birth very prematurely.