Online Program

Pregnancy, prenatal care, and delivery perceptions and beliefs of resettled African refugee women in the western US

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Jessica Lane, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN
Gene Cole, DrPH, Department of Health Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Background: Thousands of African refugee women are resettled in the US each year, yet little research has been done to assess their decision-making in regards to pregnancy and delivery. We investigated knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions that might encourage/discourage the use of prenatal care services among African refugee women from a variety of nationalities and cultures resettled to the western US. This information can inform future interventions and mollify chief barriers to appropriate pregnancy care and birthing decisions. Methodology: Participants had at least one child and/or were pregnant. Interviewees had at least one birth in Africa and in US. A mixed-method approach resulted in the collection of 103 comprehensive surveys and 23 in-depth interviews from women representing 14 African countries. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were utilized. Results: Participants delayed prenatal care until the second or third trimester. The majority of the women reported cultural (29.3%), specifically female genital cutting (FGC), transport (32.6%), and language challenges (45.7%). FGC proved a major factor in delaying prenatal care due to feelings of embarrassment and conflict in birthing choices. Participants desired more education on reproductive anatomy with respect to cultural influence, stages of pregnancy, and nutritional needs of the baby and mother. Conclusions: The need for enhanced education and distribution of information on pregnancy to this group is recommended in a culturally appropriate manner. Further research is needed to address FGC and the potential need for enhanced education of healthcare personnel as they interact with this demographic relative to pregnancy care and birthing decisions.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the pregnancy care needs of resettled African refugee women; Describe the role of cultural differences in refugee women's reproductive health care; and Discuss the need for a participatory learning approach to educational intervention within this demographic.

Keyword(s): Prenatal Care, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-prinicpal investigator on this research and have worked with refugees for over 10 years. I am also continuing this research for my thesis, which will look at the influence of female circumcision on prenatal care and birthing decisions among resettled East African refugees in Minnesota.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.