Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with prenatal mental health and negative pregnancy outcomes in high income countries, but whether the same association exists in Pakistan, a low- to middle-income (LMI) country, remains unclear. Methods: Secondary data analyses of a prospective longitudinal cohort study examining biopsychosocial measures of 300 pregnant women at four sites in Karachi, Pakistan. A predictive multiple logistic regression model for preterm birth (PTB; i.e., <37 weeks’ gestation) was developed from variables significantly (P < 0.05) or marginally (P < 0.10) associated with PTB in the bivariate analyses. Results: Of the 300 women, 263 (88%) returned for delivery and were included in the current analyses. The PTB rate was 11.1%. We found no association between ACE and PTB. Mother's education (P = 0.011), mother's ethnicity (P = 0.010), medications during pregnancy (P = 0.006), age at birth of first child or current age if primiparous (P = 0.049) and age at marriage (P = 0.091) emerged as significant in bivariate analyses. Mother's ethnicity and taking medications remained predictive of PTB in the multivariate model. Limitations: Findings are limited by the relatively small sample size which precludes direct testing for possible interactive effects. Conclusions: In sum, pathways to PTB for women in LMI countries may differ from those observed in high-income countries and may need to be modelled differently to include behavioural response to emotional distress and socio-cultural contexts.
- Adverse childhood experiences
- Ethnic disparity
- Preterm birth