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Aboriginal women’s experiences of strengths and challenges of antenatal care in the Kimberley: A qualitative study

  • Kimberley H. Seear
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia
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  • Erica P. Spry
    Affiliations
    The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia

    Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia
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  • Emma Carlin
    Affiliations
    The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia

    Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia
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  • David N. Atkinson
    Affiliations
    The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia
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  • Julia V. Marley
    Affiliations
    The Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia

    Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, 12 Napier Terrace (PO Box 1377), Broome, WA 6725, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:December 21, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2020.12.009

      Abstract

      Background

      High-quality, culturally safe antenatal care has an important role in improving health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We sought to describe Aboriginal women’s experiences of antenatal care in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, to better understand current systems and opportunities for enhancing antenatal care.

      Methods

      Throughout the Kimberley, 124 Aboriginal women who had accessed antenatal care in 2015–2018 were recruited. They provided qualitative data during a health assessment or standalone interview. Transcripts were descriptively coded and thematically analysed.

      Findings

      Most women expressed that overall they had a positive antenatal care experience. Key themes were the importance of positive relationships with antenatal care providers, the valuable role of family support during the antenatal period, challenges travelling for care and limitations of the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme, communication of pregnancy related information, and the provision of services. Almost all antenatal care providers described were non-Aboriginal. A few women spoke about involvement of Aboriginal Health Workers in their antenatal care, including recommending expansion of these roles.

      Conclusions

      The experiences shared by these Aboriginal women in the Kimberley contribute to broader evidence of a need to improve culturally safe antenatal care delivery for Aboriginal Australian women. Although excellent care was provided by a number of dedicated midwives, there were few Aboriginal antenatal staff and significant staff turnover. To improve the quality of care more local Aboriginal antenatal care providers, and additional support for the large number of women and their families required to travel, are required.

      Abbreviations:

      ACCHS (Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service), AHW (Aboriginal Health Worker), WACHS (Western Australian Country Health Service), PATS (Patient Assisted Travel Scheme)

      Keywords

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