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Residential instability during pregnancy has been linked to poor health outcomes. As a first step toward providing better health care to pregnant migrant women, the size and characteristics of this population and factors associated with mobility during pregnancy should be studied.
Using the “Monitoring Data of Chinese Migrants” for 2012, from the Chinese National Population and Family Planning Commission, this study explored mobility patterns during pregnancy and associated factors among migrants within China. From a library of 158,556 participants, two subsamples were selected. Percentages, with chi-squared tests, and means and standard deviations, with ANOVAs, were adopted to describe mobility patterns during pregnancy (always staying in sending area, mainly staying in sending area, mainly staying in receiving area, and always staying in receiving area) and delivery location choice. Logistic regression analysis was used to explore the associated factors.
We found that the percentage of migrants always or mainly staying in receiving areas during pregnancy rose from nearly 40% in 1985 to more than 80% in 2012, while the percentage of migrants who were mobile between receiving and sending areas during pregnancy fluctuated between 30 and 40% before 1995, and between 40 and 45% after 1995, decreasing to around 40% after 2008. The percentage of respondents who chose to deliver in receiving areas fluctuated but increased from 10% in 1985 to more than 50% in 2011. Among respondents who had delivered during the last year of the survey period, families with older pregnant women (OR = 1.09, 95% CI 1.05–1.13), their own housing (OR = 5.66, 95% CI 2.45–13.05), longer time in the receiving area (OR = 1.14, 95% CI 1.09–1.20), and strong will to integrate (OR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.15–1.51) always stayed in the receiving area during pregnancy, rather than the sending area, and families with broadly similar characteristics were inclined to choose the receiving area for their delivery.
The mobility patterns of pregnant migrant women in China have been changing in recent years, with the percentage of them staying in receiving areas during pregnancy and delivering there increasing. Individual and family characteristics were also associated with mobility patterns and delivery location choice.