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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2011 Dec;32(4):182-8. doi: 10.3109/0167482X.2011.589016. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Limited midwifery care for undocumented women in the Netherlands.

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Midwifery Science, AVAG and the EMGO, Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Ethnic minority women in Western countries have poorer pregnancy outcomes compared to majority populations, and undocumented women are particularly vulnerable. We intended to assess whether midwives adjust their care if women are undocumented and have no health insurance.


A retrospective matched cohort study in primary midwifery care practices in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Undocumented, uninsured women (N?=?141) were matched with documented, insured ethnic minority women (N?=?141). Information was extracted from patient records.


Undocumented women attended their first prenatal visit 5 weeks later in their pregnancy and received care elsewhere or disappeared from care more frequently (59.6 versus 34.3%). They frequently have an excess of 110% of the number of expected antenatal visits (32.4% versus 16.9%) and had a preterm birth more frequently (OR 4.59, 95% CI 1.43 to 14.72). Midwives were equally likely to follow referral guidelines in both groups. Undocumented women were more likely to give birth at home (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.07?4.28) and less likely to receive maternity home care assistance (56.0 versus 79.7%).


Although referral guidelines are generally followed by midwives, undocumented women are more at risk of adverse perinatal outcomes and inadequate care than documented ethnic minority women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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