Washington, Oct 2 : Asian-white couples face pregnancy risks that can vary depending on which parent is Asian, according to a new study from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Asian women whose partners are white, for instance, are more likely to deliver through caesarean section than those with Asian partners. But white women with Asian partners have lower rates of caesarean section delivery.
The researchers said that the findings could benefit clinicians working with an increasingly diverse patient population.
For the study, Yasser El-Sayed, MD, a Packard Children's Hospital obstetrician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the medical school, and colleagues looked at data from white, Asian and Asian-white couples who delivered at the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services at Packard Children's from 2000 through 2005.
The researchers recorded the type of delivery - caesarean vs. vaginal - and examined perinatal outcomes including, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm delivery and birth weight.
The researchers found that Asian- white couples "represent a population with distinct perinatal risks that differ depending upon which parent is of Asian race."
More specifically, the researchers found that white mother/Asian father couples had the lowest rate (23 percent) of caesarean delivery, while Asian mother/white father couples had the highest rate (33.2 percent).
Because birth weights between these two groups were similar, the researchers say the findings suggest that the average Asian woman's pelvis may be smaller than the average white woman's and less able to accommodate babies of a certain size.
El-Sayed said that it's important for clinicians to know which women may have an increased risk of caesarean delivery, so they can conduct proper counselling prior to childbirth.
The study will be published in the October issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.