Listening to First Nations women's voices, hearing requests for continuity of carer, trusted knowledge and family involvement: A qualitative study in urban Darwin

Emily R. Bowden, Maree R. Toombs, Anne B. Chang, Gabrielle B. McCallum, Robyn L. Williams

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Abstract

Problem: Australian First Nations women are more likely to commence care later in pregnancy and underutilise maternal health services than non-First Nations women. Background: Disrespectful maternity care is a major barrier to care-seeking in pregnancy, often resulting in later commencement and underutilisation of care. Aim: We aimed to identify barriers and enablers to pregnancy-related care-seeking for Australian First Nations women living in the Darwin region through yarning about their experiences of pregnancy care. Methods: Ten Australian First Nations women shared stories about their pregnancy care journeys. Yarns took place at a time and location determined by the women, with recruitment continuing until saturation was reached. Findings: Emerging themes included a desire for continuity of carer, particularly with midwives; access to trustworthy information, enabling informed decision-making; and a need to have family involved in all aspects of care. No specific barriers were identified within this cohort Discussion: Universal access to continuity of carer models would provide women with the relational care they are asking for as well as address other identified needs, such as a desire for information relevant to their pregnancy; and space for partners/family members to be involved. The themes that emerged provide a picture of what a positive, respectful pregnancy care experience could be for First Nations women within the Darwin Region, thus enabling care-seeking in pregnancy. Conclusion: Although the public sector and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations currently provide continuity of carer models, robust systems ensuring these models are made available to all women are lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e509-e517
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Birth
Volume36
Issue number5
Early online date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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