Cesarean section rate differences by migration indicators Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: To answer the question: are there differences in cesarean section rates among childbearing women in Canada according to selected migration indicators? METHODS: Secondary analyses of 3,500 low-risk women who had given birth between January 2003 and April 2004 in one of ten hospitals in the major Canadian migrant-receiving cities (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) were conducted. Women were categorized as non-refugee immigrant, asylum seeker, refugee, or Canadian-born and by source country world region. Stratified analyses were performed. RESULTS: Cesarean section rates differed by migration status for women from two source regions: South East and Central Asia (non-refugee immigrants 26.0 %, asylum seekers 28.6 %, refugees 56.7 %, p = 0.001) and Latin America (non-refugee immigrants 37.7 %, asylum seekers 25.6 %, refugees 10.5 %, p = 0.05). Of these, low-risk refugee women who had migrated to Canada from South East and Central Asia experienced excess cesarean sections, while refugees from Latin America experienced fewer, compared to Canadian-born (25.4 %, 95 % CI 23.8-27.3). Cesarean section rates of African women were consistently high (31-33 %) irrespective of their migration status but were not statistically different from Canadian-born women. Although it did not reach statistical significance, risk for cesarean sections also differed by time since migration (≤2 years 29.8 %, >2 years 47.2 %). CONCLUSION: Migration status, source region, and time since migration are informative migration indicators for cesarean section risk.


  • Gagnon, Anita J
  • Van Hulst, Andrea
  • Merry, Lisa
  • George, Anne
  • Saucier, Jean-François
  • Stanger, Elizabeth
  • Wahoush, Ellen Olive
  • Stewart, Donna E

publication date

  • April 2013