Comparison of Maternity Experiences of Canadian-Born and Recent and Non-Recent Immigrant Women: Findings From the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To compare the maternity experiences of immigrant women (recent, ≤ 5 years in Canada; non-recent > 5 years) with those of Canadian-born women. METHODS: This study was based on data from the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey of the Public Health Agency of Canada. A stratified random sample of 6421 women was drawn from a sampling frame based on the 2006 Canadian Census of Population. Weighted proportions were calculated using survey sample weights. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios comparing recent immigrant women with Canadian-born women and non-recent immigrant women with Canadian-born women, adjusting for education, income, parity, and maternal age. RESULTS: The sample comprised 7.5% recent immigrants, 16.3% non-recent immigrants, and 76.2% Canadian-born women. Immigrant women reported experiencing less physical abuse and stress, and they were less likely to smoke or consume alcohol during pregnancy, than Canadian women; however, they were more likely to report high levels of postpartum depression symptoms and were less likely to have access to social support, to take folic acid before and during pregnancy, to rate their own and their infant's health as optimal, and to place their infants on their backs for sleeping. Recent and non-recent immigrant women also had different experiences, suggesting that duration of residence in Canada plays a role in immigrant women's maternity experiences. CONCLUSION: These findings can assist clinicians and policy-makers to understand the disparities that exist between immigrant and non-immigrant women in order to address the needs of immigrant women more effectively.


  • Kingston, Dawn
  • Heaman, Maureen
  • Chalmers, Beverley
  • Kaczorowski, Janusz
  • O’Brien, Beverley
  • Lee, Lily
  • Dzakpasu, Susie
  • O’Campo, Patricia

publication date

  • November 2011