Objective To determine whether there is an association between social deprivation and gestational age and birth weight.
Method We did a retrospective and prospective review of maternity and neonatal records between January 2004 and April 2007 in Mayday University Hospital Croydon. There were 15,385 deliveries as shown on our Protos database, averaging 4700 deliveries annually. From the records we extracted maternal postcodes, gestational age and birth weight.
Ethics committee approval was not needed as we used routinely collated anonymised data. Croydon Primary Care Trust computed the Index of social deprivation for each post code. Of the 15,385 deliveries for the period analysed, data were missing for 82 babies (0.005%).
Results The statistical analysis of our data using regression analysis based on the birth weight against gestation or index of deprivation showed significant correlation (p<0.0001) for both.
Conclusion There is a strong correlation between social deprivation and prematurity and low birth weight. This has public heath implications for professionals when planning primary and secondary maternity and neonatal care.