Migrant maternity in an era of superdiversity: New migrants’ access to, and experience of, antenatal care in the West Midlands, UK

Posted by Share-Net NL on January 11, 2016 at 10:38 am

Social Science & MedicineVolume 148, January 2016, Pages 152–159


  • Migrants in the West Midlands receive less antenatal care than the general population.
  • Immigration status rather than ethnicity is a key factor in determining access.
  • Structural barriers mean some migrants cannot afford to travel to appointments.
  • Lack of cultural health capital in migrants and professionals hamper communication.
  • Antenatal care is not flexible enough to deliver effective services to migrants. 


Rapid increase in the scale, speed and spread of immigration over the past two decades has led to an increase in complexity of populations termed superdiversity. Concerns have been expressed about impacts of the pressure that superdiversity is said to place upon maternity services. High migrant fertility and infant and maternal mortality rates have long been observed in diverse areas with inadequate antenatal monitoring seen as a major causal factor in migrants’ maternity outcomes. Using qualitative data from a study of new migrants’ access to maternity services in the UK’s West Midlands region, with some of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in Europe, this paper looks at the reasons migrants’ access to antenatal care is poor. The paper finds that contrary to earlier studies which pointed to a lack of priority placed on such care by migrants, a combination of structural, legal and institutional barriers prevent migrant women accessing effective antenatal care.


  • Migrant;
  • Maternity;
  • Antenatal care;
  • Superdiversity;
  • UK
Author: Jenny Phillimore
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