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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 412680, 8 pages
Research Article

Maternal Characteristics and Temporal Trends in Birth Outcomes: Comparison between Spanish and Migrant Mothers

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Autonomous University of Madrid, Darwin Street 2, 28049 Madrid, Spain
2La Paz Maternal and Child Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid, Arzobispo Morcillo Street 4, 28029 Madrid, Spain

Received 17 January 2012; Revised 13 March 2012; Accepted 14 March 2012

Academic Editor: Jacques Poot

Copyright © 2012 Carlos Varea et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Low birth weight and preterm babies have been increasing in Spain since 1980, coinciding with important changes in the social and demographic structure of childbearing populations—including the contribution of a 25% of foreign mothers—and with increasing medical intervention in births. This study, based on 5,990,613 births, compares the temporary trends in reproductive patterns and birth outcomes in Spanish and foreign mothers during the period 1996–2009 and evaluates for the years 2007 to 2009 the relative contribution of mother's origin and Caesarean section to birth weight variability. Foreign mothers maintain their own reproductive pattern, whereas negative birth outcomes increase in all groups. Results from logistic regression analysis show that besides late maternity and primiparity also Caesarean section increases the risk for low birth weight. The reduction in Caesarean section rates between 2007 and 2009 might explain the reduction of low birth weight detected. A change of tendency simultaneously appears in most maternal and newborn characteristics, and in the mode of delivery in all ethnic groups since 2008. Coincidence in the timing of the change of trends points to a common factor. We suggest that the current world financial crisis could be this common cause, a hypothesis to be contrasted in future research.