A new study led by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has revealed that the election of President Trump in 2016, was associated with increase in preterm deliveries among Latinas in the US beyond expected.
The large scale study was triggered by a small study that showed that the election of President Trump in 2016 led to traumatic events among Latin Americans in the US.
The latest study, published online in JAMA Network Open, was conducted among over 32 million live births using Federal data from 2009 to 2017.
The study found that, among Latina mothers, there were more 1,342 preterm males and 995 females in the nine months following the November 2016 election than expected, had the election not held.
According to the study, the outcome of interest, Preterm birth, was based on births occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
It is important to point out that experts opinions converge on the fact that preterm deliveries are associated with a wide range of negative health consequences, ranging from higher risks of death in infancy to developmental problems during later years.
Economically speaking, it costs more to take care of preterms depending on how early such preterms are born and whether or not they require Intensive Care Unit (ICU) management among others, with significant economic burden over the first two years of life.
“The 2016 election, following campaign promises of mass deportation and the rollback of policies such as DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, may have adversely affected the health of Latinas and their newborns,” the lead author Alison Gemmill, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, says.
The study shows that there were peaks of excess of preterm births in February and July 2017.
It is widely known that maternal stress is closely linked to preterm births.
The implication therefore is that children conceived at the time of the election or those that were in the second trimester at the time, were particularly more vulnerable to maternal stress.
“We’ve known that government policies, even when they’re not health policies per se, can affect people’s health, but it’s remarkable that an election and the associated shift in presidential tone appears to have done so.“
The researchers recommended that more studies should be done to underpin the mechanism by which unfavorable government policies mediate preterm delivery.
Please read more on the study by Allison Gemmill and colleagues on JAMA Network Open.