Birthweight of babies born to migrant mothers - What role do integration policies play?

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  • Ingvil K Sørbye
  • Siri Vangen
  • Sol P Juarez
  • Francisco Bolumar
  • Naho Morisaki
  • Mika Gissler
  • Nybo Andersen, Anne-Marie
  • Judith Racape
  • Rhonda 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100503
JournalSSM - Population Health
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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