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Women with non-Swedish speaking background and their children: a longitudinal study of uptake of care and maternal and child health


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    The complete reference list (reference numbers 31–56) can be received from the first author.

Helena Fabian, PhD student, Eva Lagerwallsväg 24, S-756 43 Uppsala, Sweden.
Tel.: +00 46 18 501266 | Fax: +46 8 524 824 00 | Email:


Aim: To study uptake of care at the antenatal and child health clinic (CHC), and maternal and child health up to 5 years after the birth, as reported by mothers with a non-Swedish speaking background (NSB).

Methods: A sample of 300 women with a NSB, 175 originated from a poor country and 125 originated from a rich country, were compared with a reference group of 2761 women with a Swedish speaking background. Four postal questionnaires were completed: during pregnancy, and 2 months, 1 year and 5 years after the birth.

Results: Mothers with a NSB from a poor country of origin did not differ from the reference group of mothers with a Swedish speaking background regarding number of clinic visits, but they had a lower attendance rate at antenatal and postnatal education classes. Depressive symptoms, parental stress and poor self-rated health were more common in these women, and they reported more psychological and behavioral problems in their 5-year olds. Women with a rich country origin did not differ from the reference group regarding maternal and child health, but had a lower uptake of all out-patient care, except parental classes after the birth.

Conclusion: Women originating from a poor country seem to be under great stress during pregnancy and the child's first years.