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Birthweight of Babies Born to Migrant Mothers - What Role Do Integration Policies Play?

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posted on 2021-10-07, 03:19 authored by Ingvil Krarup Sorbye, Siri Vangen, Sol P Juarez, Francisco Bolumar Montrull, Naho Morisaki, Mika Gissler, Anne-Marie N Andersen, Judith Racape, Rhonda SmallRhonda Small, Rachael Wood, Marcelo L Urquia
Birthweights of babies born to migrant women are generally lower than those of babies born to native-born women. Favourable integration policies may improve migrants’ living conditions and contribute to higher birthweights. We aimed to explore associations between integration policies, captured by the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), with offspring birthweight among migrants from various world regions. In this cross-country study we pooled 31 million term birth records between 1998 and 2014 from ten high-income countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom (Scotland). Birthweight differences in grams (g) were analysed with regression analysis for aggregate data and random effects models. Proportion of births to migrant women varied from 2% in Japan to 28% in Australia. The MIPEX score was not associated with birthweight in most migrant groups, but was positively associated among native-born (mean birthweight difference associated with a 10-unit increase in MIPEX: 105 g; 95% CI: 24, 186). Birthweight among migrants was highest in the Nordic countries and lowest in Japan and Belgium. Migrants from a given origin had heavier newborns in countries where the mean birthweight of native-born was higher and vice versa. Mean birthweight differences between migrants from the same origin and the native-born varied substantially across destinations (70 g–285 g). Birthweight among migrants does not correlate with MIPEX scores. However, birthweight of migrant groups aligned better with that of the native-born in destination counties. Further studies may clarify which broader social policies support migrant women and have impacts on perinatal outcomes.


The study was partially funded by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Norwegian National Advisory Board on Women's Health, Oslo University Hospital HF, Norway. Analysis regarding data from Japan was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Tokyo, Japan (H28-ICT-ippan-001). MLU is supported by a Canada Research Chair in Applied Population Health. All authors were supported by their respective institutions. The funding sources had no role in study design, in collection, analysis and interpretation of data or in the writing of the report. All authors had full access to study results and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.


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© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.

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