Delivery and immigration: the experience of an Italian hospital

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Oct 15;116(2):170-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2004.02.018.


Objective: We studied mode of delivery and prevalence of complications in pregnant women from the western world (WW) and immigrant mothers from non European Union (non-EU) countries at a third level Italian Obstetric Department.

Study design: The study was population based and used data from the local Birth Registry at the University of Bologna. A 1:1 case control was performed by matching 510 single live births from immigrant mothers (non-EU) during the period 1997-2001 with 510 controls in chronological order (WW). Data were matched by age and parity.

Results: No differences between the two groups were noted as concerns preterm delivery, percentage of infants transferred to neonatal intensive care unit, perinatal mortality, caesarean section rate, episiotomies, instrumental deliveries and post-partum complications. Significant differences were noted in the rate of elective caesarean section (which was higher in the WW women: P < 0.01) and in the rate of vaginal lacerations and neonatal malformations (which was higher in the non-EU group: P < 0.05).

Conclusions: There was no substantial variation in the mode of delivery between non-EU immigrants and western women; only the rate of elective caesarean section was significantly higher in the WW group. A higher rate of vaginal lacerations and neonatal malformations was found in the non-EU group. In our experience the standard of medical care is achievable regardless of ethnic group.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology
  • Retrospective Studies