Scoping Review of Microaggression as an Experience of Racism and Perinatal Health Outcomes

Allison D. Crawford, Umber Darilek, Kelly McGlothen-Bell, Sara L. Gill, Emme Lopez, Lisa Cleveland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To synthesize current knowledge and identify gaps in the literature related to microaggression as an experience of racism and its influence on perinatal health outcomes. Data Sources: We searched PubMed, Race Relations Abstracts, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Scopus using the keywords “micro-aggression” and “microaggression.” Because microaggression is an all-encompassing term, we included articles that used keywords such as “racism,” “prejudice,” and/or “discrimination” because these terms are precursors to and touch on aspects of microaggression. We also included terms related to perinatal health outcomes. Study Selection: We included articles in which researchers reported on studies conducted in the United States. Articles focused on perinatal health outcomes, referred to microaggressions or related concepts, and were published in English from January 2014 through July 2020. We chose these dates because the term microaggression became more common in the literature around 2017 and is used primarily in the United States. Following removal of duplicates, we reviewed 2,331 titles and abstracts and identified 103 articles for full-text review. Thirteen articles met inclusion for the final sample. Screening at all levels was blinded. Data Extraction: We extracted data, including setting, study type, study design, microaggression type, results, health outcomes, and definitions of microaggression. Data Synthesis: In the selected articles, researchers addressed microaggression as an experience of racism in relation to the following perinatal health outcomes: small-for-gestational-age newborns, hypertension, preterm birth, low birth weight, and symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. Conclusion: In this scoping review, inconsistencies in how it was defined, measured, and controlled made it difficult to draw conclusions about the role microaggression plays in perinatal health outcomes. We recommend more research to explore, document, and understand this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-140
Number of pages15
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • health outcomes
  • microaggression
  • obstetrics
  • perinatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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