Western women more likely to have premature babies

Women in Western Australia are almost three times more likely to give birth to preterm babies compared to women in China, according to a new joint study by researchers in WA and China.

The study found the rate of preterm birth increased as women move to a more Western environment, with Chinese women recording lower rates of preterm births than women in Hong Kong or Western Australia.

Study authors said the rising rate of preterm birth in Chinese women as they moved to more Western environments suggested that behaviour and lifestyle may be significant factors associated with preterm birth.

“The results of this study may help with the prevention of preterm birth by studying populations that have low rates rather than focusing on those with the highest rates,” they said. “The results also suggest that recent major economic and social advances in China may bring with them an increase in the rate of preterm birth.”

Researchers in Perth, Hong Kong and Nanjing examined records of 26,611 pregnancies in China’s rural Jiangsu Province, 48,976 pregnancies in Hong Kong and 185,798 pregnancies in Western Australia.

Read more at University of Western Australia