Telomere Length and Preterm Birth in Pregnant Mexican-Origin Women. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: Despite the obstacles of limited education and employment opportunities-and the stress associated with immigration and pregnancy-Mexican immigrant women have low rates of preterm birth (PTB) compared to the US national average for all races and ethnicities. Stressors during pregnancy, and stressors associated with acculturation, may accelerate cellular aging manifested by shortened telomere length (TL) in pregnant women. Our objectives were to: (1) determine whether women with PTBs had shorter telomere lengths compared to women who had full term births; (2) assess the association of acculturation with TL and PTB. METHODS: This prospective pilot study collected data from 100 self-identified Mexican-origin pregnant women. Survey data included self-administered sociodemographic and acculturation measures and was collected from participants via paper and pen, while biologic data was collected via a single blood draw during a regularly scheduled prenatal visit between 26 and 36weeks gestation. PTB data was collected from the participant's medical record after delivery. RESULTS: TL was significantly associated with PTB; the median TL of the women with PTB was less than the median TL for the full sample (p=0.02). Based on regression analysis for PTB vs acculturation, we found no significant associations between acculturation and PTB or TL. CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study provides important evidence of the association between shortened maternal TL and adverse birth outcomes. By linking social, clinical and biologic data, we can enhance our understanding of social determinants that may affect racial and ethnic disparities in preterm birth.

published proceedings

  • Matern Child Health J

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Page, R. L., Han, G., Akinlotan, M., Patron, M. P., Gandhi, H., & Kochan, K. J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Page, Robin L||Han, Gang||Akinlotan, Marvellous||Patron, Maria Perez||Gandhi, Heta||Kochan, Kelli J

publication date

  • November 2021