Foreign mothers at risk over midwife visits

Pregnant women who were born outside of Sweden visit their midwives later and less frequently than Swedish women, new research has shown.

Foreign mothers at risk over midwife visits
Photo: Jose Torres

Fewer and later meetings with the midwife increase the risks to the child’s and the mother’s health. There is also a higher chance that the mother will need to be rushed to hospital for emergency care, reported Svenska Dagbladet.

Sweden’s antenatal clinics (Mödravården) recommend that first-time mothers visit their midwives seven to nine times before the birth. But Pernilla Ny, a researcher at Malmö University, found that women from Asian and eastern and southern European countries only have four to six meetings.

“We have a system which is not suited to all of the users. Not all first-time mothers are able to easily make meeting times or talk about sensitive things in Swedish,” Ny told SvD.

Foreign-born women often lack the network of their home country, Ny pointed out. Their own mothers are usually not living in Sweden, they feel isolated and rarely join parenting groups.

“That requires empathy and accessibility in their new country,” said Ny, who called for more flexibility in the care system, with, for example, more informal drop-in times.

Ny also found that single Swedish-born mothers and those who have more than one child under the age of 25 tend to visit their midwives less frequently.