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Avoiding obstetrical interventions among US-based Somali migrant women: a qualitative study

Agbemenu, Kafuli, Banke-Thomas, Aduragbemi ORCID: 0000-0002-4449-0131, Ely, Gretchen and Johnson-Agbakwu, Crista (2019) Avoiding obstetrical interventions among US-based Somali migrant women: a qualitative study. Ethnicity and Health. pp. 1-16. ISSN 1355-7858

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13557858.2019.1613519


Objective: Somali refugee women are known to have poor health-seeking behavior with a higher proportion of adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to US-born women. Yet unknown is how they avoid obstetrical interventions. This study sought to identify perceived protective mechanisms used to avoid obstetric interventions as well as the underpinning factors that influence aversion to obstetrical interventions by Somali refugee women. Design: A descriptive, exploratory qualitative study purposively sampled Somali refugee women recruited via snowball technique in Franklin County, Ohio, United States. Data were collected through audio-recordings of individual interviews and focus groups conducted in English and Somali languages. The collected data were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analyses. Results: Forty Somali refugee women aged 18–42 years were recruited. Participants reported engaging in four perceived protective mechanisms to avoid obstetrical interventions during pregnancy and childbirth: (1) intentionally not seeking or misleading prenatal care, (2) changing hospitals and/or providers, (3) delayed hospital arrival during labor, and (4) refusal of care. Underpinning all four avoidance mechanisms were their significant fear of obstetrical interventions, and perceived lack of choice in their care processes as influenced by cultural and/or religious beliefs, feeling judged or undervalued by service providers, and a lack of privacy provided to them while receiving care. Conclusion: Like every woman, Somali women also have a right to choose or refuse care. If the intention is to improve access to and experiences with care for this population, building trust, addressing their fears and concerns, and respecting their culture is a critical first step. This should be well established prior to the need for critical decisions surrounding pregnancy and childbirth wherein Somali women may feel compelled to refuse necessary obstetrical care. Bridging gaps between Somali women and their providers is key to advance health equity for this vulnerable population.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 12:51
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 06:33

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