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Pregnancy complications may be more common in immigrants from certain regions
Date:4/23/2014

TORONTO, April 24, 2014 Pregnant immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Caribbean islands may require increased monitoring during pregnancy, according to new research from St. Michael's Hospital.

The study, published today in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, assessed the differences in preeclampsia and eclampsia rates among immigrants and native-born women in six high-immigration countries Australia (Victoria), Canada (Ontario), Denmark, Sweden, Spain (Catalonia and Valencia) and the United States (California, New Jersey and New York City).

Researchers found that Sub-Saharan Africans have consistently higher risk of preeclampsia and eclampsia compared to immigrants from other world regions or non-immigrant women from the six countries studied. In some, but not all, of the six countries Latin Americans and Caribbean islanders were also shown to be at higher risk.

"Obstetricians and midwives should consider pregnancies for immigrants from these regions as high risk," said Dr. Marcelo Urquia, lead author and an epidemiologist at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael's Hospital. "They need enhanced surveillance and culturally sensitive care."

Preeclampsia is most common in first-time pregnancies. It affects two to seven per cent of women who have never given birth. Mothers with preeclampsia can experience several complications, including high blood pressure and high amounts of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can cause premature birth and stunt fetus growth in the womb.

If undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia a serious condition that puts mothers and children at higher risk. Mothers can suffer long-term cardiovascular health issues. Eclampsia can lead to lost pregnancies and even cause long-term adult health problems in the babies.

"There's no cure for preeclampsia which does disappear when the baby is born," said Dr. Urquia, who is also
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Contact: Geoff Koehler
koehlerg@smh.ca
416-864-6060 x6537
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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