Immigrant mothers and access to prenatal care: Evidence from a regional population study in Italy

Manuela Chiavarini, Donatella Lanari, Liliana Minelli, Luca Pieroni, Luca Salmasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We addressed the question of whether use of adequate prenatal care differs between foreignborn and Italian mothers and estimated the extent to which unobservable characteristics bias results. Setting: This study is on primary care and especially on adequate access to prenatal healthcare services by immigrant mothers. Participants: Approximately 37 000 mothers of both Italian and foreign nationality were studied. Data were obtained from the Standard Certificate of Live Birth between 2005 and 2010 in Umbria. Results: Estimates from the bivariate probit model indicate that immigrant mothers are three times more likely to make fewer than four prenatal visits (OR=3.35) and 1.66 times more likely to make a late first visit (OR=1.66). The effect is found to be strongest for Asian women. Conclusions: Standard probit models lead to underestimation of the probability of inadequate use of prenatal care services by immigrant women, whereas bivariate probit models, which allow us to consider immigrant status as an endogenous variable, estimated ORs to be three times larger than those obtained with univariate models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Adult
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Medicine (all)
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors


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