Unemployment Linked With Very Low Birth Weight
WebMD News Archive
What can be done to prevent very low birth weight? "Certainly, how we
deal with unemployment and economic security is an issue that we have come to
grips with politically," says Catalano. "But probably we could do more
to reduce the incidence of physical adversity that follows from those events.
We have a lot of models to predict economic performance. Certainly, you can use
this information to, at least, predict the likelihood of these events occurring
and perhaps be ready for more of them." He suggests that social support for
women who are at risk for early delivery may result in the delivery of fewer
"It'd be good to have some history on the social experience [of these
at-risk women] to the degree that these people are in prepaid health plans and
capitated systems," says Catalano. "Then it's very much in the
clinician's interest to know something of what is going on in their financial
and job lives." Then, stress management programs and other social support
interventions may be implemented, according to the investigators.
Not only do social support interventions have the potential to reduce the
number of illnesses and deaths, but also they can cut the costs of care per
infant by tens of thousands of dollars, according to Catalano. "Almost any
intervention that you can mount, especially one that involves social
interventions instead of medical ones, is going to be cost-effective here,"
The next step is to expand the time periods of these observations, according
to Catalano. Additionally, studies should identify other kinds of
community-based stressors, which may trigger very low birth weight.
- According to a Scandinavian study, very low birthweight in babies is
associated with unemployment, and researchers say the results can be
generalized to the U.S.
- It is believed that the clock for delivery is set early, and that stress
hormones contribute to an early date, which in turn causes very low birth
- Social support for women at high risk could result in fewer premature
babies and reduced associated costs.