• Open Access

A qualitative review of migrant women's perceptions of their needs and experiences related to pregnancy and childbirth

Authors

  • Marie-Clare Balaam MA,

    Research Assistant, Corresponding author
    • Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH), University of Central Lancashire, UK
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  • Kristin Akerjordet PhD INT,

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow
    1. Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger, Norway
    2. School of Nursing Midwifery and Indigenous Health, University of Wollongong, Australia
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  • Anne Lyberg RPN MNSc,

    Associate Professor
    1. Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Vestfold University College, Tønsberg, Norway
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  • Barbara Kaiser PhD,

    Professor
    1. Department of Midwifery, University of Applied Sciences, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Eva Schoening MA RM MPH,

    Advisor for reproductive and sexual health and rights/population dynamics
    1. German Agency for Technical Corporation (GTZ GmbH), Eschborn, Germany
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  • Anne-Mari Fredriksen RN MNSc,

    Researcher, Registered Midwife
    1. The Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Vestfold University College, Tønsberg, Norway
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  • Angelica Ensel PhD,

    Registered Midwife, Anthropologist, Associate Fellow of the Midwifery Research Unit
    1. Medical School Hannover, Germany
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  • Olga Gouni,

    Prebirth Psychologist, Trainer, President, Director
    1. Hellenic Union for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, Athens, Greece
    2. Cosmoanelixis (Prebirth Psychology Center), Athens, Greece
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  • Elisabeth Severinsson RPN MCSc DrPH

    Professor/Director
    1. The Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Vestfold University College, Tønsberg, Norway
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Correspondence to M.-C. Balaam:

e-mail: mbalaam@uclan.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim

A synthesis of the evidence of migrant women's perceptions of their needs and experiences in relation to pregnancy and childbirth.

Background

Despite the fact that all European Union member states have ratified human rights-based resolutions aimed at non-discrimination, there is a relationship between social inequality and access to pre-, intra-, and postpartum care.

Design

A qualitative systematic review of studies from European countries.

Data sources

A search was made for relevant articles published between January 1996–June 2010.

Review methods

Data were analysed by means of thematic synthesis.

Results

Sixteen articles were selected, analysed, and synthesized. One overall theme; ‘Preserving one's integrity in the new country’ revealed two key aspects; ‘Struggling to find meaning’ and ‘Caring relationships’. ‘Struggling to find meaning’ comprised four sub-themes; ‘Communication and connection’, ‘Striving to cope and manage’, ‘Struggling to achieve a safe pregnancy and childbirth’, and ‘Maintaining bodily integrity’. ‘Caring relationships’ was based on the following three sub-themes: ‘Sources of strength’, ‘Organizational barriers to maternity care’, and ‘The nature and quality of caring relationships’.

Conclusion

The results of this review demonstrate that migrant women are in a vulnerable situation when pregnant and giving birth and that their access to health services must be improved to better meet their needs. Research is required to develop continuity of care and improve integrated maternal care.

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