Women's Narratives on Quality in Prenatal Care: A Multicultural Perspective
Although significant progress has been made to increase prenatal care access, national organizations concerned with health equity emphasize that eliminating disparities will require greater attention to quality of care, assessed from both the biomedical and patient perspectives. In this study, we examined narratives about pregnancy experiences from low-income primiparous African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and White women who participated in focus groups conducted in 1996. We reanalyzed transcripts from these discussions, extracting passages in which women talked about the content and quality of their prenatal care experiences. Data were mapped to four domains reflecting patient-centeredness markers identified in the 2005 U.S. National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). These markers include the extent to which the women perceived that their provider listened carefully, explained things, showed respect, and spent enough time with them. The narratives provided by the study participants suggest a critical and intuitive understanding of the NHDR patient-centeredness markers and some shared understanding across cultural groups. Implications for improving quality and its measurement in prenatal care are discussed.
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