The perinatal health of immigrant women in France: a nationally representative study
Despite the healthy migrant effect, immigrants and descendants of immigrants face health challenges and socio-economic difficulties. The objective of this study is to examine the perinatal health of women of migrant origin.
The nationwide French ELFE (Etude Longitudinale Française Depuis l’Enfance) birth cohort study recruited approximately 18,000 women. We studied pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), as well as tobacco, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy according to migrant status and region of origin.
Women from North Africa and Turkey had a higher risk of pre-pregnancy overweight and GDM, while women from Eastern Europe and Asia had a lower risk of pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity, but a higher risk of GDM compared to non-immigrants. Women from Sub-Saharan Africa had a higher risk of being overweight or obese pre-pregnancy. Compared to non-immigrants, immigrants—but not descendants of immigrants—had lower levels of tobacco smoking, while descendants of immigrants were less likely to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Pregnant women of migrant origin have particular health needs and should benefit from a medical follow-up which addresses those needs.
KeywordsMigrant Women Maternal health Pregnancy Overweight Obesity Gestational diabetes mellitus Smoking Alcohol
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The ELFE study received approval from France’s consultative committee for the treatment for health information for research (CCTIRS) and the national data protection authority (CNIL).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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