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The obstetric care of asylum seekers and refugee women in the UK

Asif, Sonia; Baugh, Amy; Jones, Nia Wyn


Sonia Asif

Amy Baugh


Asylum seekers and refugees are a vulnerable group with regards to pregnancy outcomes and accessing maternity care. Asylum seekers and refugees who are pregnant and living in the UK face medical, sexual and psychosocial challenges, including dispersal late in pregnancy. The health needs of asylum seekers and refugees are complex but similar to other deprived and ethnic minority communities in the UK. Asylum-seeking women are three times more likely to die in childbirth and up to four times more likely to experience postnatal depression than the general population because of a complex combination of physical, psychological, educational, monetary and language problems. Healthcare professionals may not be aware of the legal issues surrounding asylum seekers, and therefore may not provide adequate help and support. Learning objectives To gain knowledge of how to provide good antenatal care for this group of vulnerable women. To be able to describe the medical, sexual and psychosocial issues that face pregnant asylum seekers and refugee women in the UK. To gain awareness of the legal aspects of seeking asylum in the UK and its impact on accessing health care, especially in pregnancy. Ethical issues Should the NHS provide free health care to failed asylum seekers? Is it justified to disperse pregnant women late in the third trimester (up to 36 weeks of gestation) to prevent destitution with consequent fragmentation of care and isolation of the women? Keywords: antenatal care / asylum seeker / complex psychosocial needs / dispersal / refugee health Please cite this paper as: Asif S, Baugh A, Jones NW. The obstetric care of asylum seekers and refugee women in the UK.


Asif, S., Baugh, A., & Jones, N. W. (2015). The obstetric care of asylum seekers and refugee women in the UK. Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, 17(4), 223-231.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 20, 2015
Publication Date 2015-10
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2018
Journal The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Print ISSN 1467-2561
Electronic ISSN 1744-4667
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 4
Pages 223-231
Keywords antenatal care; asylum seeker; complex psychosocial needs; dispersal; refugee health
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