Maternal health care utilization and the obstetric outcomes of undocumented women in Finland - a retrospective register-based study.

Affiliation

Tasa J(1), Holmberg V(2)(3), Sainio S(4), Kankkunen P(5), Vehviläinen-Julkunen K(5)(6).
Author information:
(1)Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland. [Email]
(2)Inflammation Center, Infectious Diseases, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
(3)Clinicum, Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
(4)Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, Helsinki, Finland.
(5)Department of Nursing Science, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
(6)Clinical Development, Education and Research Centre, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Undocumented pregnant women constitute a vulnerable group of people who lack equal access to pregnancy care. Previous research has shown that undocumented migrants encounter difficulties in accessing health services, the onset of prenatal care is delayed, and women have an increased risk for infectious diseases. The aim of this study was to describe the use of maternal health care services and the obstetric outcomes of undocumented women in Helsinki, capital city of Finland, in addition to comparing the results with all pregnant women in Finland. METHODS: The study was a retrospective register-based study consisting of data collected between 2014 to 2018 from the electronic medical records of the public maternity clinic and maternity hospital in Helsinki, Finland. The study population consists of 62 individual pregnancies of undocumented women. The results of the study were compared with national data on parturients and deliveries (N = 47,274 women) and with prenatal screening tests for infectious diseases (N = 51,447 [HIV, HBV], N = 51,446 [syphilis]). RESULTS: The majority (91%) of the undocumented women attended public prenatal care. However, four women received no prenatal care and three women were denied access to care. Undocumented women entered prenatal care later and had fewer visits compared with all pregnant women. The majority (71%) of the undocumented women received inadequate prenatal care as the number of visits was less than eight. Of the study population, 5% (3/59) tested positive for HIV, 3% (2/59) for HBV, and 2% (1/57) for syphilis. The prevalence of HIV (p-value < 0.001) and HBV (p-value = 0.007) was significantly higher amongst undocumented women compared with all pregnant women. CONCLUSIONS: Undocumented women entered prenatal care later than recommended. Most women received inadequate prenatal care and some of them did not receive prenatal care at all. The prevalence of infectious diseases was significantly higher and the coverage of prenatal screenings deficient amongst undocumented pregnant women.