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01.01.2013 | original article | Ausgabe 1-2/2013

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 1-2/2013

Migrants and obstetrics in Austria—applying a new questionnaire shows differences in obstetric care and outcome

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 1-2/2013
Priv. -Doz. Willi Oberaigner, Mag. Hermann Leitner, Mag. Karin Oberaigner, Univ. -Prof. Dr. Christian Marth, Prim. Dr. Gerald Pinzger, Prim. Dr. Hans Concin, Univ. -Prof. Dr. Horst Steiner, Prim. Univ. -Doz. Dr. Hannes Hofmann, Prim. Univ. -Doz. Dr. Teresa Wagner, Prim. Dr. Manfred Mörtl, Dr. Angela Ramoni



Immigration plays a major role in obstetrics in Austria, and about 18 % of the Austrian population are immigrants. Therefore, we aimed to (1) test the feasibility of a proposed questionnaire for assessment of migrant status in epidemiological research and (2) assess some important associations between procedures and outcomes in obstetrics and migration in selected departments in Austria.


We adapted a standardized questionnaire to the main immigration groups in Austria. Information on country of origin, length of residence in Austria and German-language ability was collected from eight selected obstetrics departments. Of the 1,971 questionnaires, 1,873 questionnaires of singleton births were selected and included in the analysis.


We analyzed a total of 1,873 parturients with singleton births, of which 35 % had migrant status, 12 % were from ex-Yugoslavia, 12 % were from Turkey, and 12 % were from other countries. The proportion of parturients having their first care visit after the 12th week of pregnancy was higher in migrant groups (19 %). Smoking was highest in the migrants from ex-Yugoslavia (21 %). Vaginal delivery was more frequent in migrants from ex-Yugoslavia (78 %) and Turkey (83 %) than in nonmigrants (71 %) and episiotomy was more frequently performed in migrants from other countries. All differences are statistically significant.


Administration of a standardized questionnaire for assessment of migrant status in obstetric departments in Austria was shown to be feasible. We assessed differences in obstetric care and outcome and consequently recommend that action should be initiated in Austria toward harmonizing obstetric procedures among the migrant and the nonmigrant groups and toward minimizing risk factors.

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