A qualitative review of migrant women's perceptions of their needs and experiences related to pregnancy and childbirth

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A synthesis of the evidence of migrant women's perceptions of their needs and experiences in relation to pregnancy and childbirth.


Despite the fact that all European Union member states have ratified human rights-based resolutions aimed at non-discrimination, there is a relationship between social inequality and access to pre-, intra-, and postpartum care.


A qualitative systematic review of studies from European countries.

Data sources

A search was made for relevant articles published between January 1996–June 2010.

Review methods

Data were analysed by means of thematic synthesis.


Sixteen articles were selected, analysed, and synthesized. One overall theme; ‘Preserving one's integrity in the new country’ revealed two key aspects; ‘Struggling to find meaning’ and ‘Caring relationships’. ‘Struggling to find meaning’ comprised four sub-themes; ‘Communication and connection’, ‘Striving to cope and manage’, ‘Struggling to achieve a safe pregnancy and childbirth’, and ‘Maintaining bodily integrity’. ‘Caring relationships’ was based on the following three sub-themes: ‘Sources of strength’, ‘Organizational barriers to maternity care’, and ‘The nature and quality of caring relationships’.


The results of this review demonstrate that migrant women are in a vulnerable situation when pregnant and giving birth and that their access to health services must be improved to better meet their needs. Research is required to develop continuity of care and improve integrated maternal care.

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