Self-Rated Health in Migrant and Non-Migrant Women before, during and after Pregnancy: A Population-Based Study of 0.5 Million Pregnancies from the Swedish Pregnancy Register

J Clin Med. 2020 Jun 6;9(6):1764. doi: 10.3390/jcm9061764.


Self-rated health is a strong health marker. Migrants have been suggested to have poorer self-rated health than non-migrants (i.e., native-born). However, little is known about whether there are disparities in self-reported health in relation to pregnancy. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to examine the odds of poor self-rated health before, during and after pregnancy in migrant women as compared to women born in Sweden. We utilized population-based data from the Swedish Pregnancy Register containing 0.5 million women born in Sweden (i.e., non-migrant women) and migrant women between 2010 and 2018. Self-rated health was reported on a 5-point scale (from very poor to very good). Very poor and poor health were categorized as poor self-rated health. Logistic regression was utilized to calculate odds ratios (ORs) that were unadjusted and adjusted for covariates (age, parity, educational attainment and body mass index). The results demonstrate disparities in self-rated health across birth regions. In comparison to women born in Sweden, women born in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia as well as North Africa and the Middle East had consistently higher odds of poor self-rated health before, during and after pregnancy (ORs ranging from 1.14 to 1.96 in both unadjusted and adjusted models). Although women born in Sub-Saharan Africa did have comparable self-rated health as to women born in Sweden before pregnancy, after accounting for covariates, they had lower odds of poor self-rated health during and after pregnancy (ORs: 0.71 and 0.80 respectively). Therefore, additional measures and support may be needed to tackle disparities in health between migrant and non-migrant women before, during and after pregnancy.

Keywords: health inequalities; migration; pregnancy; self-perceived health; self-rated health; self-reported health.