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police violence tied to preterm black infant births, low birth weight

December 6, 2019
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Analyzing the birth records of nearly four million babies born in California in recent years, sociologist Joscha Legewie of Harvard University noticed a startling correlation between police violence and the health of Black newborns. According to Legewie’s research, Black infants born around police killings of unarmed Black people were more likely to be born prematurely and have a lower birth weight. This, compared to non-Black babies of color and white babies and in the case of infants born close to the killings of armed Black people or people of any race, there was no correlation at all.

According to Legewie, the maternal stress Black mothers experience when they are exposed to discriminatory or unjust killings can be observed through the negative health impacts on Black infants. Other studies have suggested a link between premature births and low birth weight can negatively affect cognitive development, health problems, and learning disabilities.

The eye-opening paper was published in the journal Science Advances. Read it in full, here.