A descriptive phenomenology study of newcomers’ experience of maternity care services: Chinese women’s perspectives
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BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: This descriptive phenomenology study used in-depth semi-structured interviews to examine immigrant Chinese women's experiences. Fifteen participants were recruited from the Chinese community in Toronto, Canada by using purposive sampling. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim into written Chinese. The transcripts were analyzed using Colaizzi's (1978) phenomenological method. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.
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