251372 Perinatal health status of Mexican origin immigrant women: The intersection of behavioral and social determinants

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Yolanda C. Padilla, PhD, MSSW , Population Research Center & School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
The unexpectedly positive birth outcomes of Mexican origin women despite severe social disadvantage points to the need for a broader examination of their well-being. The low birth weight rate for Mexican origin women of 6.0, a rate comparable to that of non-Hispanic whites, is associated with high numbers of immigrants. We outline the family and social conditions of Mexican immigrant mothers during the perinatal period to highlight the potential effects of the social determinants of health for this population. Findings are based on a statistical analyses of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a national survey of 4898 mostly unmarried mothers in cities of 200,000 or more initiated in 1998 to 2000. Data were collected from mothers in randomly selected hospitals at the time of the child's birth and through telephone interviews one year later. We detail the following characteristics of Mexican immigrant mothers in comparison to their Mexican origin US-born, white, and black counterparts: (a) pregnancy health and health behaviors, (b) family structure and father involvement, (b) socioeconomic background, (d) social support and neighborhood stability, and (e) access to health care and public assistance. Mexican immigrant mothers exhibit very low rates of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and begin with moderate father involvement. Access to resources and services, however, is severely limited. Immigrant selectivity and health behaviors in this population appear to initially compensate for social determinants of health that put at risk both the health of the infant and the subsequent health of the mother.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the health, family, and social characteristics of Mexican immigrant mothers during the perinatal period. 2. Discuss the intersection of behavioral and social determinants of the health of mothers in the Mexican origin population.

Keywords: Maternal Health, Access Immigration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a population studies researcher specializing in the study of Latino maternal and child health with background as principal investigator of NIH-funded related studies. I hold a PhD in sociology and social science from the University of Michigan.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.