Disparities in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia among immigrant women giving birth in six industrialised countries

BJOG. 2014 Nov;121(12):1492-500. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12758. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Objective: To assess disparities in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia among immigrant women from various world regions giving birth in six industrialised countries.

Design: Cross-country comparative study of linked population-based databases.

Setting: Provincial or regional obstetric delivery data from Australia, Canada, Spain and the USA and national data from Denmark and Sweden.

Population: All immigrant and non-immigrant women delivering in the six industrialised countries within the most recent 10-year period available to each participating centre (1995-2010).

Methods: Data was collected using standardised definitions of the outcomes and maternal regions of birth. Pooled data were analysed with multilevel models. Within-country analyses used stratified logistic regression to obtain odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Main outcome measures: Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia with prolonged hospitalisation (cases per 1000 deliveries).

Results: There were 9,028,802 deliveries (3,031,399 to immigrant women). Compared with immigrants from Western Europe, immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean were at higher risk of pre-eclampsia (OR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.63, 1.80 and 1.63; 95% CI: 1.57, 1.69) and eclampsia (OR: 2.12; 95% CI: 1.61, 2.79 and 1.55; 95% CI: 1.26, 1. 91), respectively, after adjustment for parity, maternal age and destination country. Compared with native-born women, European and East Asian immigrants were at lower risk in most industrialised countries. Spain exhibited the largest disparities and Australia the smallest.

Conclusion: Immigrant women from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean require increased surveillance due to a consistently high risk of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.

Keywords: Eclampsia; health disparities; immigration; industrialised countries; pre-eclampsia; pregnancy complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / ethnology
  • Asia, Eastern / ethnology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Developed Countries*
  • Eclampsia / ethnology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Latin America / ethnology
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Pre-Eclampsia / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy
  • United States / epidemiology