Asian women may have shorter pregnancies
Race can be a factor in birth complications, according to new research.
A report published today in the British Medical Journal argues that gestational length varies for different races and that this factor should be considered by health practitioners.
In the study, data on perinatal mortality (infant death before, during, or shortly after birth) rates of nearly 200,000 white, black and south Asian women was compared.
Mortality was found to be highest among south Asian women at all gestational ages, and it grew higher as pregnancies came to term, the research states.
The scientists suggested that Asian women may have shorter pregnancies and that doctors were waiting too long before inducing labour, raising the risk of a stillborn birth.
Research leader Dr Imelda Balchin commented: "The racial classification in this study, although crude, is a probable indicator of genetic variation in normal gestational length."
A post-term pregnancy is currently defined as 41 weeks after the woman's last period, according to the World Health Organisation.
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