First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are at higher risk of adverse birth outcomes than are non-Indigenous people. However, relatively little perinatal information is available at the national level for Indigenous people overall or for specific identity groups.
This analysis describes and compares rates of preterm birth, small-for-gestational-age birth, large-for-gestational-age birth, stillbirth, and infant mortality (neonatal, postneonatal, and cause-specific) in a nationally representative sample of First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and non-Indigenous births. The study cohort consisted of 17,547 births to Indigenous mothers and 112,112 births to non-Indigenous mothers from 2004 through 2006. The cohort was created by linking the Canadian Live Birth, Infant Death and Stillbirth Database to the long form of the 2006 Census, which contains a self-reported Indigenous identifier.
With the exception of small-for-gestational-age birth, adverse birth outcomes occurred more frequently among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women than among non-Indigenous women. Inuit had the highest preterm birth rate (11.4 per 100 births; 95% CI: 9.7 to 13.1) among the three Indigenous groups. The large-for-gestational-age rate was highest for First Nations births (20.9 per 100 births; 95% CI: 19.9 to 21.8). Infant mortality rates were more than twice as high for each Indigenous group compared with the non-Indigenous population, and rates of sudden infant death syndrome were more than seven times higher among First Nations and Inuit.
The results confirm disparities in birth outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, and demonstrate differences among First Nations, Métis and Inuit.