A Tampere University dissertation by has found that particular groups of migrant-background women have higher risks of health complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
According to doctoral health sciences candidate Kalpana Bastola, women with Somali and Kurdish backgrounds generally have a higher body mass index and faced a greater risk of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, including diabetes.
“The identified high risk-groups may need additional counselling on weight management and special attention in maternal and newborn care,” Bastola said, as quoted by national broadcaster Yle.
Additionally, women from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and East Asia were found to have a higher risk of preterm birth, emergency caesarian section deliveries and low birthweight babies, according to the research. Meanwhile, women with backgrounds from South America or the Caribbean had a greater risk of both elective and emergency caesarian deliveries.
By contrast, Russian-background women tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than women in the general population before pregnancy. Women the former Soviet Union in general appeared to have a lower risk of complications arising during pregnancy and delivery, as well as a lower risk of post-birth health problems.
“More research is needed to better understand the reasons and mechanisms behind these differences and to develop interventions for improving the health of the higher-risk groups,” Bastola concluded.
In her dissertation, titled “Health of pregnant migrant women and their newborns in Finland”, Bastola analysed single births recorded in the Finnish Medical Birth Register between 2004 and 2014 as well as data from Statistics Finland and the Care Register for Health Care. All in all, the records of 318 Russian, 583 Somali, 373 Kurdish and 243 women from the general population in Finland were examined.
Meanwhile, the number of births in Finland has been falling for about a decade. The national fertility rate for 2019 was the lowest on record, at 1.35 children per woman, Statistics Finland indicated. The last time Finland experienced baby blues of comparable proportions was during the great famine that happened roughly 150 ago.
By contrast, women of Somali and Turkish origins have a fertility rate of over 3, following by Iraqi background women, Statistics Finland reported.