Are birth defects among hispanics related to maternal nativity or number of years lived in the United States?

Tunu Ramadhani, Vanessa Short, Mark A. Canfield, D. Kim Waller, Adolfo Correa, Marjorie Royle, Angela Scheuerle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Literature on the risk of birth defects among foreign- versus U.S.-born Hispanics is limited or inconsistent. We examined the association between country of birth, immigration patterns, and birth defects among Hispanic mothers. METHODS: We used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals and assessed the relationship between mothers' country of birth, years lived in the United States, and birth defects among 575 foreign-born compared to 539 U.S.-born Hispanic mothers. RESULTS: Hispanic mothers born in Mexico/Central America were more likely to deliver babies with spina bifida (OR = 1.53) than their U.S.-born counterparts. Also, mothers born in Mexico/Central America or who were recent United States immigrants (≤5 years) were less likely to deliver babies with all atrial septal defects combined, all septal defects combined, or atrial septal defect, secundum type. However, Hispanic foreign-born mothers who lived in the United States for >5 years were more likely to deliver babies with all neural tube defects combined (OR = 1.42), spina bifida (OR = 1.89), and longitudinal limb defects (OR = 2.34). Foreign-born mothers, regardless of their number of years lived in the United States, were more likely to deliver babies with anotia or microtia. CONCLUSIONS: Depending on the type of birth defect, foreign-born Hispanic mothers might be at higher or lower risk of delivering babies with the defects. The differences might reflect variations in predisposition, cultural norms, behavioral characteristics, and/or ascertainment of the birth defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-763
Number of pages9
JournalBirth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009



  • Birth defects
  • Country
  • Hispanic
  • Immigration
  • Nativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology

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