Limited English proficiency in the labor and delivery unit

Brandon M. Togioka, Katherine M. Seligman, Carlos M. Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewLimited English proficiency (LEP) impacts patient access to safe and comprehensive care during the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum periods. In this review, we explore disparities in care delivery and outcomes that LEP women experience, and discuss the importance of providing language concordant care and using interpretation services appropriately.Recent findingsThe number of individuals with LEP is steadily increasing in the United States. Pregnant women with LEP suffer disparities in obstetric care and are at risk for postpartum depression, breastfeeding difficulties, and substandard newborn care after neonatal ICU discharge because of insufficient education. Addressing these issues requires the implementation of language concordant care and education, along with the utilization of medically trained interpreters. Although further evidence is needed, the authors support these interventions to improve patient satisfaction, decrease medical errors, and curtail misdiagnoses.SummaryThe pregnant woman with limited English proficiency is at risk of receiving suboptimal care and experiencing negative outcomes during the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum periods. The use of medically trained interpreters and the provision of language concordant care, through workforce diversification and the creation of forms and educational materials in diverse languages, can improve patient safety, outcomes, and quality of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-291
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anaesthesiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • interpretation/translation services
  • language concordant care
  • limited English proficiency
  • peripartum outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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