Immigrant women giving birth in Spain suffer 'great stress,' a study warns

A study conducted at the University of Granada has concluded that most immigrant women who give birth in Spain suffer "severe stress" and should receive psychological treatment after giving birth to help them overcome disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, phobic anxiety, depression or psychoticism. These disorders are caused by "the stress of labor itself combined with other personal stress factors. This is a very stressful moment in women's life due to biological, psychological and social factors".

This study has been conducted by Francisca Pérez Ramírez and coordinated by Inmaculada García García and Isabel Peralta Ramírez at the University of Granada Department of Nursing. The study also revealed that generally enter the pregnancy check-up program six weeks later than Spanish women, as they enter it at 12 weeks of gestation, while Spanish women start at 6-7 weeks. As a result, they undergo less ultrasound scans.

Francisca Pérez explains that they found significant differences in immigrant women's attendance to childbirth classes. "Spanish women attend childbirth classes much more frequently than immigrant women, perhaps because these classes are held at work hours or because they are given in Spanish".

Irregular Situation

The primary author of this article explains that immigrant women may experience greater stress "due to the fact that they are illegal immigrants, so they believe that as soon as they enter the hospital they will be deported, or the stress that Muslim women suffer when they have to ask for special food during their in-hospital stay, communication problems, or because they feel discriminated for wearing headscarf".

To carry out this study, 163 postpartum women were sampled between 2009 and 2011 at the University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain. All women -- immigrant women and 83 Spanish women– were asked to answer four questionnaires. In addition, their medical records, partographs and midwifery records were examined.

The researchers analyzed participants' sociodemographic variables (age, country of origin, nationality, years of residence in Spain, administrative status); health habits (smoking, previous diseases); habits related with obstetric formula (number of pregnancies and miscarriages); factors related with current pregnancy (check- ups and ultrasound scans underwent)and newborn information (sex, birthweight, Apgar score at 1 and 5 minutes, or feeding method). Values for optimism, vulnerability to stress and perceived stress were obtained by personal interviews.

In the light of the results of this study, the researcher notes that "we should understand the cultural factors interfering immigrant pregnant women's experiences, and include respect for diversity of beliefs and values in postnatal care.

The results of this study will be partially published in Journal of Transcultural Nursing, Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem and Anales de Psicología.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spanish women marry immigrants with more qualifications

Oct 05, 2011

A team at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) has studied the marriage strategies of immigrants in order to determine the nature of endogamic (between people of the same nationality) and exogamic partnerships ...

Pregnancy stress aids toddler development

May 18, 2006

Women who are stressed and anxious during pregnancy tend to have children who with more advanced mental and motor development by age 2, U.S. researchers say.

Link between nationality and cervical cancer

Sep 03, 2008

Gynaecological screening tests for cervical cancer have been available to all women in Sweden for almost four decades. Despite this, many immigrant women have a higher risk of developing the disease than Swedish-born women, ...

Fear of childbirth increases likelihood of C-section

Sep 21, 2011

A new study published in the international journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (AOGS) reveals that fear of childbirth is a predisposing factor for emergency and elective cesarean sections, even after psycho ...

Recommended for you

UK proposes rules for embryos made from 3 people

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—New rules proposed in Britain would make it the first country to allow embryos to be made from the DNA of three people in order to prevent mothers from passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases to their babies.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.