The Experiences of Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Postpartum Women in the First 4 Weeks at Home

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Qualitative Health Research (Impact Factor: 2.19). 02/2009; 19(2):194-206. DOI: 10.1177/1049732308329310
Source: PubMed


We used a qualitative descriptive approach to explore and describe the situated experiences of socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) postpartum women in the first 4 weeks after hospital discharge. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data from in-depth interviews with 24 SED postpartum women. Two intertwining, overarching themes emerged: (a) the ongoing burden of their day-to-day lives, with subthemes of poverty and material deprivation, stigmatization through living publicly examined lives, and precarious social support; and (b) the ongoing struggles to adjust to changes that came with the baby's arrival, with subthemes of "the first weeks were hard," "feeling out of control," "absence of help at home," "complex relationship with the baby's father," and "health and well-being." Knowledge of SED women's situated experiences is vital to the development of health policies and services that will truly meet their needs.

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    • "Childbearing women who lack adequate support are at higher risk for mental health challenges and report poorer overall health [6,25,27]. Childbearing immigrant women, particularly during the early years in Canada are at higher risk for poor health outcomes than women born in Canada likely because they often experience low levels of social support (including access to financial support) and have smaller social networks than women born in Canada [6,7,25,27]. For Chinese women social support is critical if they are to implement their cultural practice of “doing the month”. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternity health care available in Canada is based on the needs of women born in Canada and often lacks the flexibility to meet the needs of immigrant women. The purpose of this study was to explore immigrant Chinese women's experiences in accessing maternity care, the utilization of maternity health services, and the obstacles they perceived in Canada. This descriptive phenomenology study used in-depth unstructured interviews to examine immigrant Chinese women's experiences. Fifteen participants were recruited from the Chinese community in Toronto, Canada by using snowballing sampling. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim into written Chinese. The transcripts were analyzed using Colaizzi's (1978) phenomenological method. Six themes were extracted from the interviews: (1) preference for linguistically and culturally competent healthcare providers, with obstetricians over midwives, (2) strategies to deal with the inconvenience of the Canadian healthcare system (3) multiple resources to obtain pregnancy information, (4) the merits of the Canadian healthcare system, (5) the need for culturally sensitive care, and (6) the emergence of alternative supports and the use of private services. The findings provide new knowledge and understanding of immigrant Chinese women's experiences in accessing maternity health services within a large metropolitan Canadian city. Participants described two unique experiences within the themes: preference for linguistically and culturally competent healthcare providers, with obstetricians over midwives, and the emergence of alternative supports and the use of private services. Few studies of immigrant maternity service access have identified these experiences which may be linked to cultural difference. Further investigation with women from different cultural backgrounds is needed to develop a comprehensive understanding of immigrant women's experiences with maternity care.
    BMC Health Services Research 03/2014; 14(1):114. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-114 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    • "Participants in our study shared that they entered the NFP program in order to obtain needed support. Consistent with the findings of previous studies on low-income mothers, most of the participants in our study experienced precarious social support [22,41-43]. Their NFP nurses helped to fill this gap as mothers reported that they received both emotional and informational support during home visits. "
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    Qualitative Health Research 08/2009; 19(7):1010-24. DOI:10.1177/1049732309338868 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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