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Lecture 14

Health Sciences 1002A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Unnatural Causes, Low Birth Weight, Preterm Birth

Health Sciences
Course Code
HS 1002A/B
Jessica Polzer

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Guiding Questions for Film: When the Bough Breaks from the series “Unnatural Causes”
How are pregnancy outcomes affected by racism and chronic stress?
-Health lifestyle=health baby, one of the best predictors for a healthy pregnancy outcome is
higher education
-Low birth weight and premature birth for African American babies is the unequal treatment of
African Americans in American society. Racism is taking a heavy toll on African-American
children even before they leave their mother’s wombs.
-Stress hormones are part of the intricate chemistry of pregnancy under normal conditions
-A woman who is pregnant under a great deal of stress body will start pumping out extra stress
hormones–she may reach the tipping point for labour to begin sooner
-Stress can constrict blood flow to the placenta, which could limit fetal growth and may lead to
premature delivery. Chronic stress may also contribute to serious inflammation inside the uterus,
which can trigger premature labour.
-The chronic activation of the stress response, creates wear and tear on your bodys organs and
systems so that you create this overload on these systems so that they don’t work very well.
According to the film, why do African American women at each income level have worse
outcomes than their white counterparts?
-African Americans at all income levels are morel likely to be denied mortgages, pay more for
automobiles, and receive fewer job interviews
- Women who perceived that they had been treated unfairly on the basis of their race, whether it
was looking for work, in an educational setting, or a variety of other settings, had more than two-
fold increased risk of very low birth weight infant.
Describe Dr. Lu’s “life-course perspective.” How does it broaden conventional approaches,
which focus primarily on risk factors during pregnancy?
- The life-course perspective assumes that birth outcomes are the product of not simply the nine
months of pregnancy, but really the entire life course of a woman. Disparities in birth outcomes is
really the consequences not only of differential exposures during pregnancy, but really the
differential experiences across the life-course of women of color.
What are the mechanisms by which experiences outside the body and before
conception can affect birth outcomes?
-Racial-stress can have a life-long impact on African American families and their health
-White women, fifty percent say that they never think about their race. For black women,
almost fifty percent think about their race once a day or more frequently, with twenty-one
percent thinking about their rate constantly.
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