Publications & Reports

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

Melanie Gibson-Helm, Jacqueline Boyle, I-Hao Cheng, Christine East, Michelle Knight, Helena Teede
Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


OBJECTIVE: To compare maternal health, prenatal care, and pregnancy outcomes among women of refugee background (born in Asian humanitarian source countries [HSCs]) and non-refugee background (born in Asian non-HSCs) at Monash Health (Melbourne, VIC, Australia). METHODS: In a retrospective study, data were obtained for women born in HSCs and non-HSCs from the same region who received government-funded health care for singleton pregnancies between 2002 and 2011. Multivariable regression analyses assessed associations between maternal HSC origin and pregnancy outcomes. RESULTS: Data were included for 1930 women from South Asian HSCs and 7412 from non-HSCs, 107 from Southeast Asian HSCs and 5574 from non-HSCs, 287 from West Asian HSCs and 990 from non-HSCs. Overweight, anemia, and teenage pregnancy were generally more common in the HSC groups. Birth in an HSC was independently associated with poor/no pregnancy care attendance (OR 4.2; 95% CI 2.5-7.3), late booking visit (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1-1.5), and post-term birth (OR 3.0; 95% CI 2.0-4.5) among women from South Asia. For Southeast Asia, HSC birth was independently associated with labor induction (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.1-3.5). No independent associations were recorded for West Asia. CONCLUSION: Women born in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Iraq, and Myanmar had poorer general maternal health. Those from South Asian HSCs had increased risks of lower engagement in prenatal care, and post-term birth.


  • Journal: International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics
  • Published: 01/05/2015
  • Volume: 129
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 146-151