Maternal health and pregnancy outcomes among women of refugee background from Asian countries Academic Article uri icon


  • 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).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.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.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.


  • Gibson-Helm, Melanie
  • Boyle, Jacqueline
  • Cheng, I-Hao
  • East, Christine
  • Knight, Michelle
  • Teede, Helena

publication date

  • 2015