Anti- and Never-Trumpism continues to thrive in higher education; case in point, a Johns Hopkins University study claims preterm births among U.S. Latinas increased nine months after Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s recent study, published in the JAMA Network Open, “was prompted by smaller studies that had suggested adverse, stress-related health effects among Latin Americans in the U.S. after the 2016 election,” according to the university’s blog on the study. The study found, after analyzing U.S. government data on 33 million live births in 2016-2017, that there was an increase of “2,337 preterm births to U.S. Latinas compared to what would have been expected given trends in preterm birth in the years prior to the election—an increase of roughly 3.5%.”
In other words, the study said that there was a 3.5% increase in preterm births among U.S. Latinas due to Trump’s election.
The study defined preterm birth as a birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy which is often linked to negative health issues, such as higher infant mortality rates and potential infant developmental issues later in life. Stress in pregnant women is known to “bring an elevated risk of preterm birth,” and this study was based on previous studies that claimed anti-immigrant policies or actions “can stress immigrant women and/or make them less likely to seek prenatal care.” Specifically, a 2018 study which found “moderately elevated rate” of preterm births in New York City leading up to the election of Donald Trump as president inspired the Johns Hopkins study.
Also, the study hinted that maternal stress could have led to peaks in preterm births in February and July 2017 for male and female infants. The blog quoted Alison Gemmill, who is the Johns Hopkins assistant professor in the university’s Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, “The 2016 election, following campaign promises of mass deportation and the rollback of policies such as DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, may have adversely affected the health of Latinas and their newborns.” She added, “We’ve known that government policies, even when they’re not health policies per se, can affect people’s health, but it’s remarkable that an election and the associated shift in presidential tone appears to have done so.”