Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients for healthcare practitioners.
Be aware of possible religious and cultural sensitivities when discussing sexual and reproductive matters.
Where language is a problem in discussing sexual or reproductive matters, offer a female interpreter. It is inappropriate to use children as interpreters for adults, particularly when discussing intimate concerns.
Some cultural practices may expose women to non-infectious environmental hazards.
Sexual and reproductive health
Different religions and cultures have different beliefs and practices concerning menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth. These can affect health and treatment compliance. Explore the patient’s beliefs and understanding.
Offer girls aged up to 18 immunisation against human papillomavirus (HPV).
A sexual history is an important part of an overall health assessment. Consider whether the patient may require a full sexual health screen for sexually transmitted infections on the basis of country of origin and sexual history.
Sexual health promotion including safer sex advice is important to address with all sexually active people.
Enquire about family planning requirements. Inform patients that contraceptive services are free and confidential.
The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) affects women from certain countries.
For women planning pregnancy, or who are pregnant, inform them of their rights to maternity care and explain the NHS system of antenatal care, including routine antenatal screening. They may have different expectations from their country of origin.
Listeria infections have been found to be more common in pregnancy among ethnic minority groups in England and Wales.
Encourage anyone who is eligible for the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme to apply.
Some pregnant women may choose to travel back to their country of origin to be with family for their delivery.
Different airlines have different rules about flying in pregnancy and the woman should be advised to check both with the airline she intends to fly with, and with her insurance company. In addition she may need a letter from her GP stating she is fit to fly.
Routine antenatal screening from Patient.info
Pregnancy and maternity rights for Spanish speaking workers leaflet in English and Spanish from Maternity Action
Healthy Start: information about the scheme for health professionals
Sexual and reproductive health
HPV immunisation schedules and leaflets to share with patients
Violence, trafficking, abuse, human rights
Contact the forced marriage unit (FMU) if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or need help leaving a forced marriage.
See the guidance on forced marriage for professionals protecting, advising, and supporting victims.
UKHTC (United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre) provides a central point for expertise and cooperation on the trafficking of human beings. Tactical advice and victim support available 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
The ‘Asian women, domestic violence and mental health’ toolkit by EACH (Ethnic Alcohol Counselling in Hounslow) provides background information on Asian women’s experiences of domestic violence, its impact on their health, and how health professionals can respond.
Maternity Action: a national charity working to end inequality and promote the health and well-being of all pregnant women, their partners and children.