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Optimizing hospital and community based maternity care for immigrant and minority women in Alberta Open Access


Author or creator
Higginbottom, G.M.A.
O'Brien, B.
Mumtaz, Z.
Yohani, S.
Chiu, Y.
Okeke-Ihejirika, P.
Ahmadi, E.
Paton, P.
Additional contributors
immigrant women
maternal health
Atlas.ti software
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Conference/workshop Poster
Alberta is a popular Canadian destination for new immigrants, including childbearing families. Although evidence suggests that immigrant women can have difficulty utilizing maternity care services, researchers have little knowledge of how factors such as ethnic group, English-language skills, cultural norms, or pre-migration histories intersect and influence maternal outcomes. Our overarching research question is how can we reduce or eliminate the disparity experienced by immigrant women in accessing and navigating maternity care services? To this end, the study highlights the perspectives of the women themselves, health professionals, policy makers and key stakeholders. We conducted a focused ethnography conducting focus group and individual interviews with 22 immigrant newcomer women (self-assigned ethnicities of Sudanese, Chinese, South Asian, Columbian, Tajikistan), 15 health care professionals and 7 policy makers and social services providers. Data was analyzed with the aid of ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis software and guided by Roper and Shapira’s analysis framework. Preliminary themes include lack of choice, navigation of the system, transportation, expensive medication, engagement with care providers, interactions within the healthcare system, issues with interpreters, cultural norms, and racial profiling and stereotyping. Although often satisfied with the medical aspects of their maternity care, the lack of antenatal and postpartum social support tended to negatively colour the immigrant women’s experiences. Many of the resettlement issues (e.g. social isolation and depression) noted by social services providers intersect to produce negative maternal outcomes. For optimal maternal health of immigrant women, targeted interventions to improve maternal outcomes must involve input from health care professionals, social service providers and immigrant communities.
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