Antenatal and perinatal outcomes of refugees in high income countries

  • 1 Women and Children’s Health, School of Life Course Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
  • 2 The Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, Kings College London, London, UK
  • 3 NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, London, UK
Sarah Sturrock
  • Women and Children’s Health, School of Life Course Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
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, Emma WilliamsORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6480-468X and Anne GreenoughORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8672-5349
  • Corresponding author
  • Women and Children’s Health, School of Life Course Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
  • The Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, Kings College London, London, UK
  • NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, London, UK
  • orcid.org/0000-0002-8672-5349
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  • Search for other articles:
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Abstract

Objectives

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted a marked trend for worse pregnancy-related indicators in migrants, such as maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, poor mental health and suboptimal care. The aim of this study was to determine whether such adverse outcomes occurred in refugees who moved to high income countries by comparing their antenatal and perinatal outcomes to those of non-immigrant women.

Methods

A literature search was undertaken. Embase and Medline databases were searched using Ovid. Search terms included “refugee”, “pregnan*” or “neonat*”, and “outcome”.

Results

The search yielded 194 papers, 23 were included in the final analysis. All the papers included were either retrospective cohort or cross-sectional studies. The refugees studied originated from a wide variety of source countries, including Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Refugee women were more likely to be socially disadvantaged, but less likely to smoke or take illegal drugs during pregnancy. Refugee women were more likely to have poor, late, or no attendance at antenatal care. Miscarriages and stillbirth were more common amongst refugee women than non-refugees. Perinatal mortality was higher among refugees.

Conclusions

Despite better health care services in high income countries, refugee mothers still had worse outcomes. This may be explained by their late or lack of attendance to antenatal care.

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