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New research - mother’s country of birth and what this means for UK-born babies

Parents hold the hand of a premature baby in hospital

Published on Sunday, 16 February 2020

One of our research projects has tried to find out why babies born in the UK, with one or both parents from a minority ethnic background, are more likely to be born prematurely than white British babies. The reasons are complex and the higher risk does not apply to all babies with a minority ethnic heritage. For example, it does not apply to all degrees of prematurity and it isn't associated with all causes of death.

The study, which was run by Charles Opondo, Hiranthi Jayaweera, Jennifer Hollowell, Yangmei Li, Jenny Kurinczuk and Maria Quigley, looked at data from babies born in England between 2006 and 2012.

Our findings have been published in a series of papers. In our final paper, we explored whether the risk or death or prematurity was different in babies whose mother was born outside the UK rather than in the UK. We found that in babies with a minority ethnic heritage, the baby's risk of death or prematurity was lower if the mother had been born outside the UK rather than in the UK. You can read more about this on the NPEU website

Updated: Wednesday, 11 November 2020 14:20 (v2)