Background: The geography of where pregnant mothers live is important for understanding outdoor environmental habitat that may result in adverse birth outcomes. We investigated whether more babies were born small for gestational age or low birth weight at term to mothers living in environments with a higher accumulation of outdoor hazards. Methods: Live singleton births from the Alberta Perinatal Health Program, 2006-2012, were classified according to birth outcome, and used in a double kernel density estimation to determine ratios of each outcome per total births. Individual and overlay indices of spatial models of 136 air emissions and 18 land variables were correlated with the small for gestational age and low birth weight at term, for the entire province and sub-provincially. Results: There were 24 air substances and land sources correlated with both small for gestational age and low birth weight at term density ratios. On the provincial scale, there were 13 air substances and 2 land factors; sub-provincial analysis found 8 additional air substances and 1 land source. Conclusion: This study used a combination of multiple outdoor variables over a large geographic area in an objective model, which may be repeated over time or in other study areas. The air substance-weighted index best identified where mothers having abnormally small newborns lived within areas of potential outdoor hazards. However, individual air substances and the weighted index provide complementary information.
- Low birth weight at term
- Small for gestational age