Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 816–836 | Cite as

Migrant Women’s Utilization of Prenatal Care: A Systematic Review

  • M. HeamanEmail author
  • H. Bayrampour
  • D. Kingston
  • B. Blondel
  • M. Gissler
  • C. Roth
  • S. Alexander
  • A. Gagnon


Our objectives were to determine whether migrant women in Western industrialized countries have higher odds of inadequate prenatal care (PNC) compared to receiving-country women and to summarize factors that are associated with inadequate PNC among migrant women in these countries. We conducted searches of electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO), reference lists, known experts, and an existing database of the Reproductive Outcomes And Migration international research collaboration for articles published between January, 1995 and April, 2010. Title and abstract review and quality appraisal were conducted independently by 2 reviewers using established criteria, with consensus achieved through discussion. In this systematic review of 29 studies, the majority of studies demonstrated that migrant women were more likely to receive inadequate PNC than receiving-country women, with most reporting moderate to large effect sizes. Rates of inadequate PNC among migrant women varied widely by country of birth. Only three studies explored predictors of inadequate PNC among migrant women. These studies found that inadequate PNC among migrant women was associated with being less than 20 years of age, multiparous, single, having poor or fair language proficiency, education less than 5 years, an unplanned pregnancy, and not having health insurance. We concluded that migrant women as a whole were more likely to have inadequate PNC and the magnitude of this risk differed by country of origin. Few studies addressed predictors of PNC utilization in migrant women and this limits our ability to provide effective PNC in this population.


Emigrants Immigrants Prenatal care Pregnancy Systematic review 



Dr. Heaman is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Gender and Health. Dr. Bayrampour was supported by a graduate student traineeship and Dr. Kingston by a post-doctoral fellowship funded by Dr. Heaman’s Chair award while assisting with this systematic review. Dr. Gagnon is co-leader of Reproductive Outcomes And Migration (ROAM): an international research collaboration, and Drs. Heaman, Blondel, Gissler, Alexander, and Ms. Roth are members of ROAM. Dr. Gagnon receives career support from Le fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) and McGill University William Dawson Scholar Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Heaman
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Bayrampour
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. Kingston
    • 4
  • B. Blondel
    • 5
  • M. Gissler
    • 6
    • 7
  • C. Roth
    • 8
  • S. Alexander
    • 9
  • A. Gagnon
    • 10
  1. 1.CIHR Chair in Gender and Health, Faculty of Nursing, Helen Glass Centre for NursingUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community ResearchChild Development CentreCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Faculty of Nursing, 5-258 Edmonton Clinic Health AcademyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.Unité de Recherche Epidémiologique sur la Santé périnatale et la Santé des Femmes et des Enfants, Epidemiological Research Unit on Perinatal Health and Women and Children Health, National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM U953)Hopital Saint-Vincent de PaulParisFrance
  6. 6.Information DivisionTHL National Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  7. 7.NHV Nordic School of Public HealthGothenburgSweden
  8. 8.Director of Undergraduate Programmes, Lead Midwife for Education, Clinical Education CentreKeele UniversityNewcastleUK
  9. 9.PERU (Perinatal Epidemiology and Reproductive Health Unit), Ecole de Santé PubliqueUniversite Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  10. 10.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Nursing, McGill University Health CentreMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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