Improving antenatal engagement for Aboriginal women in Australia: A scoping review

Naomi Simpson, Dianne Wepa, Karina Bria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Aboriginal women have an increased risk of poor antenatal engagement in pregnancy in comparison with Caucasian women, due to inequalities in health care provision. The Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia reports Aboriginal women having 10 times the risk of non-attendance of antenatal care throughout their pregnancy, 3 times the risk of attending the initial booking appointment later than recommended in their pregnancy, and Aboriginal women have an increased risk of attending significantly less antenatal appointments than Caucasian women. Objective: The primary purpose of the scoping review is to map the body of literature known about Aboriginal women engaging with antenatal care in Australia, and the factors that facilitate or cause barriers to this engagement. Secondary to this, the review will describe how culturally safe care influences antenatal engagement. Methods: Scoping reviews utilise a broad range of literature, encompassing all types of studies. An online search of 6 databases was conducted to identify and critically analyse sources discussing antenatal engagement for Aboriginal women in Australia. Using the JBI framework for Scoping Reviews, the researcher was able to strengthen the rigour of the methodology. Findings: The search produced 9 articles, relating to 6 studies addressing antenatal engagement for Aboriginal women in Australia. Several themes were prevalent in the research that impact antenatal engagement including: Smoking, Relocation, Continuity of Care, Aboriginal maternity infant care workers, home visits, birthing on country, age, family and culturally safe care. Conclusion: Aboriginal women have identified continuity of care, Aboriginal workforce, home visits, family involvement, birthing on country and cultural safety as factors that improve antenatal engagement. Aboriginal women have reported smoking, rural and remote location, cultural incompetence and young age as factors that deter them from engaging with antenatal care. In order to improve antenatal engagement for Aboriginal women in South Australia, culturally safe care is essential. In order to determine the factors that facilitate and/or deter Aboriginal women from antenatal engagement, further research is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102825
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr Micah Peters from the University of South Australia, for his expertise in Scoping reviews.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


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