O83 - Experiences of First Nations women responding to life stressors who access perinatal care at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs): An Integrative Literature Review

Nerida Grant, Penny Haora, MSue Kruske, Donna Hartz

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background: In settler-colonial Australia, life stressors such as exposure to violence, mental health challenges and financial insecurity are disproportionately experienced by First Nations women in pregnancy. These stressors are cause for pre-birth notification to child protection services (CPS). First Nations women are disproportionately exposed to CPS and forced removal of infants. Fear of CPS impacts access to antenatal care. First Nations peak bodies have proposed ACCHSs providing culturally safe perinatal care as key interventions for vulnerable families responding to life stressors in the perinatal period.

Purpose: To synthesise what is known about experiences of First Nations women responding to life stressors perinatally, accessing ACCHSs. Methods A search of 5 key databases between March 2020 and March 2022 was conducted. As only two peer-reviewed papers reported experiences of First Nations women accessing ACCHSs, dedicated Aboriginal midwifery models were added to inclusion criteria. We used the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Studies (COREQ) tool to assess completeness of reporting in included studies. Findings were thematically synthesised for an Integrative Review. Results Five included studies report the experiences of around 100 First Nations women. Women describe the importance of responsive, community-driven models of care for First Nations women, inclusive of family and kinship networks, employing First Nations staff, and offering access to known care givers. No study specifically describes experiences of women responding to life stressors accessing ACCHSs.
Conclusion: The perinatal period is a time of great potential for working with First Nations women and families to address the causes and impacts of life stressors they are responding to. Best practice calls for community-controlled, culturally safe models of perinatal care to support First Nations women and strengthen First Nations families at this crucial time. Further research into experiences of First Nations responding to life stressors accessing ACCHS models of care is much needed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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