To assess whether there are differences in the timing of first antenatal care visit between 1st and 2nd-generation migrants, and if so, how such differences could be explained. The study has been conducted in the framework of Generation R Study, a multi-ethnic population-based study conducted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The study population consists of 845 women of the six largest ethnic groups. Data were derived from the electronic antenatal charts of the participating midwives and from written questionnaires. Logistic regression analyses have been carried out to investigate whether difference could be explained by need, predisposing and enabling factors. More first than second generation women enter antenatal care after 14 weeks of pregnancy (28.1 vs. 18.7 %). Women who were not likely to adopt healthy behaviour regarding pregnancy-such as timely taking folic acid-equally were not inclined to enter antenatal care early in pregnancy. The role of Dutch language mastery was limited. Given our results, first generation women are less likely to receive timely health educational advice or to benefit from screening opportunities than second generation women. Future studies should pay more attention to adequate assessment of proficiency of the host language.