UCD Research Shows Connection Between Birth Weight and Armed Conflict

According to a recent study by UC Denver professors, pregnant women exposed to armed conflict have a higher risk of giving birth to a child weighing less than 5.5lbs, which could change the way aid is distributed to countries in conflict:

Ensure a Safe Birth for Mothers in the West Bank

“Our results provide another reason why pregnant women deserve special attention when armed conflict breaks out.” said Hani Mansour, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who conducted the study with Daniel Rees, Ph.D., a CU Denver professor of economics.

“We find that an additional conflict-related fatality nine to six months before birth is associated with an increase in the probability of having a low-birth weight child,” Mansour said.  “Psychological stress is a plausible explanation for this relationship, although we cannot rule out malnutrition.”

The professors examined a sample of 1,224 births to women living in the West Bank.  Conflict exposure in utero was measured by the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the district where the mother lived.

These findings present implications that go well beyond the West Bank. Thankfully, there are groups around the world working to reduce this low birth weight trend. Maybe policymakers should invest in groups like Midwives for Peace, a grassroots group of Palestinian and Israeli midwives who are working to save mother’s and children in regions of conflict.

Do you follow organizations that promote maternal and children’s health? Tell us what you think!

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