Maternal Healthcare in Migrants: A Systematic Review
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- Almeida, L.M., Caldas, J., Ayres-de-Campos, D. et al. Matern Child Health J (2013) 17: 1346. doi:10.1007/s10995-012-1149-x
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Pregnancy is a period of increased vulnerability for migrant women, and access to healthcare, use and quality of care provided during this period are important aspects to characterize the support provided to this population. A systematic review of the scientific literature contained in the MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases was carried out, searching for population based studies published between 1990 and 2012 and reporting on maternal healthcare in immigrant populations. A total of 854 articles were retrieved and 30 publications met the inclusion criteria, being included in the final evaluation. The majority of studies point to a higher health risk profile in immigrants, with an increased incidence of co-morbidity in some populations, reduced access to health facilities particularly in illegal immigrants, poor communication between women and caregivers, a lower rate of obstetrical interventions, a higher incidence of stillbirth and early neonatal death, an increased risk of maternal death, and a higher incidence of postpartum depression. Incidences vary widely among different population groups. Some migrant populations are at a higher risk of serious complications during pregnancy, for reasons that include reduced access and use of healthcare facilities, as well as less optimal care, resulting in a higher incidence of adverse outcomes. Tackling these problems and achieving equality of care for all is a challenging aim for public healthcare services.