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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2014 Feb;124(2):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2013.07.031. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Fetal and infant health outcomes among immigrant mothers in Flanders, Belgium.

Author information

  • 1Department of Gynecology, Universitair Ziekenhuis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: evy.gillet@vub.ac.be.
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium.
  • 3Study Centre of Perinatal Epidemiology, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 4Department of Gynecology, Universitair Ziekenhuis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium; Study Centre of Perinatal Epidemiology, Brussels, Belgium.



To compare fetal and infant mortality between immigrant and native-born mothers in Flanders, Belgium.


In a population-based study, data from 326 166 neonatal deliveries, collected by the Study Center for Perinatal Epidemiology and the Belgian Civil Birth Registration system between January 2004 and December 2008, were analyzed. Immigrant mothers were defined as women born in any country other than Belgium, and were grouped by country of origin according to the World Bank Atlas definition of low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated to evaluate the association between immigration and fetal/infant outcome.


In univariate analysis, fetal and infant mortality rates were significantly higher among immigrants than among native-born mothers (fetal: crude OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.29-1.75; infant: crude OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.29-1.67). Fetal/infant death rates were highest among mothers originating from low-income countries. In multivariate analysis, however, most differences became non-significant: only the early neonatal death rate remained significantly higher (adjusted OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.06-1.60), whereas the fetal death rate appeared lower (adjusted OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.57-0.80), among immigrant mothers.


After adjustment for relevant characteristics, fetal/infant mortality was comparable between immigrant women and native-born women in Flanders.

© 2013.


Fetal and infant mortality; Migration; Perinatal health

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