Objective: Infant mortality is increased in isolated rural areas. This study compares prenatal factors, access to care, and health outcomes for very-low birthweight (VLBW) infants by degree of maternal residential rurality. Methods: This descriptive population-based retrospective cohort study used the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative registry to study VLBW infants. Rurality was assigned as urban, large rural, and small rural/isolated using the Rural Urban Commuting Area codes. We used hierarchical random effect models to test the association of rurality with survival without major morbidity. Results: The study included 38 614 dyads. VLBW survival without major morbidity decreased with increasing rurality and the relationship remained significant for small rural/isolated areas (OR 0.79, p = 0.03) after adjustment. Birth weight, gestational age, and infant sex were similar across geographic groups. Conclusion: A rural urban disparity exists for VLBW survival without major morbidity. Our findings generate hypotheses about factors that may be driving these disparities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology