Obstetric performance of ethnic Kosovo Albanian asylum seekers in London: a case-control study

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Aug;24(5):510-2. doi: 10.1080/01443610410001722527.


The most recent Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths expressed concern that mortality in women from non-English-speaking ethnic groups was twice that of native-born women. There are very few published data on the obstetric performance of Kosovo Albanian refugees who have relocated to the United Kingdom and the aim of this study was to compare the obstetric performances of Kosovo Albanian women currently residing in the United Kingdom with their British-born Caucasian counterparts. Sixty-one index and 61 control cases were analysed; 63% of the Kosovo Albanian women spoke little or no English and 50% were on income support. Of the study group, 9.8% had caesarean sections, 8.2% had instrumental vaginal deliveries and 82% achieved normal deliveries. The Kosovo Albanian women were statistically younger and had shorter duration of labour compared to controls (P < 0.05, unpaired t-test). Epidural use was significantly lower in Kosovan women (P < 0.05, chi2 test). The rates of induction of labour (IOL), caesarean section, instrumental deliveries, premature delivery and low birth weight < 2.5 kg were not statistically different (P > 0.05 in all cases, chi2 test) between the two groups. This is the first study to examine the obstetric outcomes of Kosovo Albanian women who have resettled in a western European country. Most Kosovo Albanian refugees living in the United Kingdom are not socio-economic migrants but displaced due to civil unrest and many had reasonable socio-economic status prior to resettlement. The similarity in obstetric and fetal outcomes between the study and control groups could be attributed to the 'healthy immigrant effect', where immigrant groups appear to have better outcomes due to family support and relatively lower intake of alcohol and nicotine. It also suggests that obstetricians may be heeding the recommendations from recent Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths, which highlight the need for increased vigilance in women from ethnic minorities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albania / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labor, Obstetric / ethnology
  • London / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / ethnology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome