Maternal health and pregnancy outcomes among women of refugee background from African countries

Melanie Gibson-Helm, Helena J Teede, I-Hao Cheng, Andrew Block, Michelle Knight, Christine East, Euan M. Wallace, Jacqueline Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: It is unclear whether refugee groups have poorer maternal health and pregnancy outcomes compared to non-refugee migrant groups or whether specific refugee groups have particularly poor outcomes. This study aimed to describe maternal health, pregnancy care attendance and pregnancy outcomes among women of refugee background from African countries compared to non-refugee migrant women. Method: Retrospective, observational study of singleton births, at the largest maternity service in Victoria, Australia 2002–2011, to women born in humanitarian source countries (HSC) and non-HSC from North Africa (n = 1361), Middle and East Africa (n = 706) and West Africa (n = 106). Results: Compared to non-HSC groups, risk factors related to social disadvantage were generally more common across the HSC groups: interpreter need (13–56%), multiparity (69–80%), age <20 years (2–13%) and living in relatively socio-economic disadvantaged areas (53–78%). Vitamin D insufficiency was generally more common among the HSC groups (23–32%) as was female genital mutilation (5–14%). Birth before arrival (3.6%) was particularly high in the North African HSC group. HSC-birth was independently associated with gestational diabetes (OR = 3.5 95%CI: 1.8–7.1) among women from Middle and East Africa. The West African HSC group had the highest stillbirth incidence (4.4%). Conclusions: Resettled refugees from different African regions may be at higher risk of specific adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to nonrefugee migrant women. Awareness of differing risks and health needs would assist provision of appropriate care to improve the health of women of refugee background and their babies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-11
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAnnual Congress of the Perinatal-Society-of-Australia-and-New-Zealand 2014 - Crown, Perth, Australia
Duration: 6 Apr 20149 Apr 2014
Conference number: 18th

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