Objective: To describe immigrant women's postpartum health, service needs, access to services, and service use during the first 4 weeks following hospital discharge compared to women born in Canada.
Design: Data were collected as part of a larger cross-sectional study.
Setting: Women were recruited from 5 hospitals purposefully selected to provide a diverse sample.
Participants: A sample of 1,250 women following vaginal delivery of a healthy infant; approximately 31% were born outside of Canada.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported health status, postpartum depression, postpartum needs, access to services, service use.
Results: Immigrant women were significantly more likely than Canadian-born women to have low family incomes, low social support, poorer health, possible postpartum depression, learning needs that were unmet in hospital, and a need for financial assistance. However, they were less likely to be able to get financial aid, household help, and reassurance/support. There were no differences between groups in ability to get care for health concerns.
Conclusions: Health care professionals should attend not only to the basic postpartum health needs of immigrant women but also to their income and support needs by ensuring effective interventions and referral mechanisms.