• Eclampsia;
  • health disparities;
  • immigration;
  • industrialised countries;
  • pre-eclampsia;
  • pregnancy complications


To assess disparities in pre-eclampsia and eclampsia among immigrant women from various world regions giving birth in six industrialised countries.


Cross-country comparative study of linked population-based databases.


Provincial or regional obstetric delivery data from Australia, Canada, Spain and the USA and national data from Denmark and Sweden.


All immigrant and non-immigrant women delivering in the six industrialised countries within the most recent 10-year period available to each participating centre (1995–2010).


Data was collected using standardised definitions of the outcomes and maternal regions of birth. Pooled data were analysed with multilevel models. Within-country analyses used stratified logistic regression to obtain odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

Main outcome measures

Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia with prolonged hospitalisation (cases per 1000 deliveries).


There were 9 028 802 deliveries (3 031 399 to immigrant women). Compared with immigrants from Western Europe, immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean were at higher risk of pre-eclampsia (OR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.63, 1.80 and 1.63; 95% CI: 1.57, 1.69) and eclampsia (OR: 2.12; 95% CI: 1.61, 2.79 and 1.55; 95% CI: 1.26, 1. 91), respectively, after adjustment for parity, maternal age and destination country. Compared with native-born women, European and East Asian immigrants were at lower risk in most industrialised countries. Spain exhibited the largest disparities and Australia the smallest.


Immigrant women from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean require increased surveillance due to a consistently high risk of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.