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ABSTRACT: Background: Few studies of immigrant women's views of maternity care in their new homelands have been conducted. In Victoria, Australia, approximately 1 woman in 7 giving birth was born overseas in a non-English speaking country. This paper examines the views of three groups of immigrant women about the care they received in hospital for the birth of their babies and compares the findings with a population-based statewide survey.

Methods: Mothers in a New Country was a study of 318 Vietnamese, Turkish, and Filipino women interviewed about their maternity care experiences by bicultural interviewers 6 months after giving birth in Melbourne, Australia. The interview schedule was adapted from the 1994 Victorian Survey of Recent Mothers, a population-based postal survey of 1336 women.

Results: Of the 3 groups, 27 percent of Vietnamese, 48 percent of Turkish, and 39 percent of Filipino women reported their care during labor and birth as “very good,” figures significantly lower than for the statewide survey, in which 61 percent of women experiencing similar models of care described their care as “very good.” This significant differential in views about care was also present for many individual aspects of care. In the current study of mothers in a new country, comments about aspects of care with which women were particularly happy and unhappy highlighted their appreciation of care that was safe, kind, supportive, and respectful, and conversely, illustrated how distressed women were when care failed to meet these basic standards.

Conclusions: What immigrant women wanted from their maternity care proved to be extremely similar to what Australian-born women—and women the world over—want. Unfortunately, immigrant women were much less likely to experience care that gave them what they wanted. (BIRTH 29:4 December 2002)