Open Access Open Badges Research article

Learning strengths from cultural differences: a comparative study of maternal health-related behaviors and infant care among Southern Asian immigrants and Taiwanese women

Yen-Ching Chen1, Shu-Hui Wei1, Kuo-Wei Yeh2 and Mei-Yen Chen3*

Author Affiliations

1 Out Patient Department, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Tunghwa North Road, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Chang Gung Children’s Hospital, Tunghwa North Road, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, 61363, Putz City, Chiayi County, Taiwan

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013, 13:5  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-5

Published: 22 January 2013



Many studies have indicated that most immigrant women come from underdeveloped countries, and this can have negative effects on their lives, children’s adaptation to school, and medical care utilization. However, there is insufficient literature about differences in infant caretaking, pre-postpartum health care, and health outcome between immigrant and native Taiwanese populations. The aim of this study was to investigate the differences between Southern Asia immigrants and Taiwanese women in their access to medical care, postnatal growth, and infant care throughout the first six months postpartum.


Comparative and descriptive designs were applied. Immigrant women were eligible if they visited three suburban settings of the Outpatient Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Outpatient Department of Pediatrics in Northern Taiwan during the period up to six months postpartum.


Immigrant women appeared to have a lower frequency of antenatal examinations and obtained less health information from health care providers. However, they did not differ significantly from native Taiwanese women in maternal body size, postnatal growth curves, exclusive breastfeeding rates or vaccination awareness at the 6th month postpartum.


Learning strengths from cultural differences between immigrant and native women and closing the gaps in health inequality are important issues. Despite the limitation of small sample size, the present findings can be used as references to help health care providers to develop further health policies in Taiwan.

Immigrant; Infant health; Women's health; Lactation; Maternal-child health