Caesarean births among migrant women in high-income countries

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2016 Apr;32:88-99. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Sep 14.


High caesarean birth rates among migrant women living in high-income countries are of concern. Women from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia consistently show overall higher rates compared with non-migrant women, whereas women from Latin America and North Africa/Middle East consistently show higher rates of emergency caesarean. Higher rates are more common with emergency caesareans than with planned caesareans. Evidence regarding risk factors among migrant women for undergoing a caesarean birth is lacking. Research suggests that pathways leading to caesarean births in migrants are complex, and they are likely to involve a combination of factors related to migrant women's physical and psychological health, their social and cultural context and the quality of their maternity care. Migration factors, including length of time in receiving country and migration classification, have an influence on delivery outcome; however, their effects appear to differ by women's country/region of origin.

Keywords: caesarean; immigrant; migration; practice guideline; refugee; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Culturally Competent Care
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Developing Countries
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors