Immigration and Continuing Inequalities in Maternity Outcomes: Time to Reexplore the Client-Provider Relationship?

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The United Kingdom has seen a substantial rise in immigration over the past 10 years. This new population has a high percentage of women of childbearing age (Office for National Statistics, 2012b), consequently placing an increased demand on U.K. maternity services. Previous research suggests lower satisfaction and worse maternity outcomes for migrant and minority ethnic women both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Most papers exploring ethnic health inequalities have centered on causal factors such as differences in socioeconomic status and host country language ability. Health care policies to tackle inequalities in the United Kingdom, based on these assumptions, have had limited success. Consequently, alternative causal factors need to be explored. This article discusses ethnic inequalities in maternity outcomes in the United Kingdom and proposes that research exploring the client-provider relationship in migrant women's maternity care could provide important new insights.

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