The study aimed to investigate foreign-born women’s lifestyle and health before and during early pregnancy and compare them with those of Nordic-born women.
Women recruited at antenatal clinics in Sweden answered a Swedish, English, or Arabic questionnaire or by telephone interview with an interpreter. Questions covered pregnancy planning and periconceptional lifestyle and health. The responses of women born in or outside Europe were compared with those of Nordic-born women. The impact of religiousness and integration on periconceptional lifestyle and health was also investigated.
Twelve percent of participants (N = 3389) were foreign-born (n = 414). Compared with Nordic women, European and non-European women consumed less alcohol before conception and during early pregnancy. Non-European women used less tobacco and were less physically active, but BMI did not differ between groups. Self-perceived health, stress, and anxiety during early pregnancy did not vary, but non-European women had more depressive symptoms. Non-European women’s healthy lifestyle was associated with religiousness but not with the level of integration.
Non-European women were overall less likely to engage in harmful lifestyle habits before and during early pregnancy but were more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms than Nordic women.