Research Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 5, P479-489, September 2020

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Indian migrant women’s experiences of motherhood and postnatal support in Australia: A qualitative study

Published:October 18, 2019DOI:



      The postpartum period can be challenging for many women. For migrant women, the arrival of a new baby brings unique issues. This study aimed to explore the experiences of motherhood and postpartum support of Indian migrant mothers.


      A qualitative descriptive naturalist inquiry was adopted, with data collected through face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 11 English speaking Indian migrant women over 18 years old, (6 weeks to 6 months postpartum) in 2016. The data were thematically analysed.


      Four themes were found in this study: the role of social support in postpartum care, support from health services, a psycho-emotional journey with socio-cultural expectations and struggling to bridge two cultures. Many of the women felt alone and were distressed with undertaking household duties and caring for older children, as this would not have happened in India. The women expressed needing practical support until they settled back into their normal lives. Women never sought professional advice for their ongoing mental health concerns. Conflicting advice from health professionals left some women confused about their expectations of traditional and modern postnatal care.


      This study gives a unique insight into the experiences of Indian migrant women following birth. There is a need for culturally sensitive and appropriate postnatal services that encourage Indian men to support their partners and help women to find alternative sources of culturally appropriate support. It is vital that mental health support is a key component of any such program of care.


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