Migrant Arab Muslim women’s experiences of childbirth in the UK
This research study explored the meanings attributed by migrant Arab Muslim women to their experiences of childbirth in the UK. The objectives of the study were: • To explore migrant Arab Muslim women's experiences of maternity services in the UK. • To examine the traditional childbearing beliefs and practices of Arab Muslim society. • To suggest ways to provide culturally sensitive care for this group of women. An interpretive ontological-phenomenological perspective informed by the philosophical tenets of Heidegger (1927/1962) was used to examine the childbirth experiences of eight Arab Muslim women who had migrated to one multicultural city in the Midlands. Three in-depth semi structured audiotaped interviews were conducted with each woman; the first during the third trimester of pregnancy (28 weeks onwards), the second early in the postnatal period (1-2 weeks after birth) and the third one to three months later. Each interview was conducted in Arabic, then transcribed and translated into English. An adapted version of Smith’s model of interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith 2003) together with the principles of Gadamer (1989) were used to analyse the interview data, aided by the use of the software package NVivo2. The analysis of the women’s experiences captures the significance of giving birth in a new cultural context, their perception of the positive and negative aspects of their maternity care and the importance of a culturally competent approach to midwifery practice. Six main themes emerged from analysis of the interviews: ‘displacement and reformation of the self’, ‘by the grace of God’, ‘the vulnerable women,’ ‘adaptation to the new culture,’ ‘dissonance between two maternity health systems’ and ‘the valuable experience’. These themes reflected the women’s lived experiences of their childbirth in the UK. The implications for communities, institutions, midwifery practice and further research are outlined. The study concludes that in providing culturally competent care, maternity caregivers should be aware of what might be significant in the religious and cultural understandings of Arab women but also avoid cultural stereotyping by maintaining an emphasis on individualised care.
- PhD