Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Obstetric Care for Pregnant Refugees

Duration: 10/2016 to 03/2020
Subproject of the NRW-Fortschrittskollegs FlüGe - "Challenges and opportunities of global refugee migration for German health care."
Project staff: Anne Köhne, M.Sc. Public Health


The recent past has seen an enormous increase in the number of refugees worldwide. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 65 million people are fleeing, either within their own country or across international borders. Between January 2015 and July 2016, 900,000 applications for asylum were filed. About one-third of all refugees seeking asylum in Germany are women. The majority of women who come to Germany as refugees either are, or soon will be, of childbearing age. Refugee women, in particular those with children or those who are pregnant, are an especially vulnerable group in terms of healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the right to obstetric care under unusual living circumstances such as fleeing, so that pregnant refugees are to be accorded access to obstetric care. Access to obstetric care in Germany is more difficult for women who have fled. At the same time, the care and counseling of these women poses special challenges for healthcare professionals.


In the first stage - the status-quo-analysis - a literature and internet search identified healthcare structures and actors within the area of obstetrical care for refugees. As current conditions and points of contact for refugees around questions of childbirth are highlighted, access to the field is opening up for the subsequent qualitative assessment. The second stage - the qualitative assessment - is designed to offer insights into the structures of relevance and experience backgrounds; both those of the pregnant refugees and of the professional obstetric actors working in the area of refugee care.

Guided interviews as well as group discussions are intended to illustrate both the perspectives of the refugees and the views of the obstetricians regarding the obstetrical care of pregnant refugee women in North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the challenges, the qualitative examination can also reveal untapped potential in the obstetrical care of refugees.

Contact: Anne Köhne, Room U5-225, anne.koehne@uni-bielefeld.de



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