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

May 30, 2012

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.

Explore further: Lower risk of breast cancer occurrence but higher mortality amongst low-educated and immigrant women

Related Stories

Lower risk of breast cancer occurrence but higher mortality amongst low-educated and immigrant women

January 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Low-educated and immigrant women run a lower risk of breast cancer occurrence than highly educated women and women born in Sweden. However, the risk of dying from breast cancer is higher for those low-educated ...

Fear of childbirth increases likelihood of C-section

September 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 psychological ...

Mammography use up for US immigrants

September 19, 2011
While mammography rates have improved among foreign-born women residing in the United States, these women are still less likely to have undergone breast cancer screening than native-born U.S. women.

Recommended for you

Hope for couples suffering IVF miscarriage

September 20, 2017
Women who miscarry during their first full round of IVF are more likely to have a baby after further treatment than women who don't get pregnant at all.

Does mother's mental health affect pregnancy?

September 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Three common mental health disorders—depression, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder—pose no serious threat to pregnant women or the health of their babies, a new study finds.

Preeclampsia may boost heart disease risk by altering blood vessels

September 12, 2017
Preeclampsia may permanently change the blood vessels of women who experience the condition during pregnancy, boosting their lifelong risk for cardiovascular disease, according to Penn State researchers.

Discovery of genes linked to preterm birth in landmark study

September 6, 2017
A massive DNA analysis of pregnant women has identified six gene regions that influence the length of pregnancy and the timing of birth. The findings, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, may lead to new ...

Older wombs linked to complications in pregnant mice

September 5, 2017
Deciding to start a family later in life could be about more than just the age of your eggs. A new study in mice suggests the age of a mother's womb may also have a part to play. This work, led by Dr Myriam Hemberger at the ...

Study suggests simple way to predict preterm births

September 4, 2017
Up to 18 percent of babies born worldwide arrive before they are full-term, defined as 37 weeks of gestation. About 1 million of those babies do not survive, and those who do can face developmental problems such as impaired ...

0 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.