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Experiences and needs of women from ethnic minorities in maternity healthcare: A qualitative systematic review and meta-aggregation

  • Remus Kin Chon Toh
    Affiliations
    Nursing Division, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119074, Singapore
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  • Shefaly Shorey
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Level 2, Clinical Research Centre, Block MD11,10 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597, Singapore.
    Affiliations
    Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To consolidate the available evidence around ethnic minority women’s experiences and needs when accessing maternity care.

      Methods

      A qualitative systematic review and meta-aggregation of qualitative data were conducted. Nine electronic databases were searched for qualitative or mixed-methods studies from the inception of each database until January 2022. Using the Nested-Knowledge software, meta-aggregation was conducted according to the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) data synthesis approach to identify all potential intersections between different themes. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the JBI Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI) and the mixed-methods appraisal tool (MMAT) checklists for qualitative and mixed-methods studies, respectively.

      Results

      Twenty-two studies (nineteen qualitative and three mixed-methods) were included. All studies were of good methodological quality. An overarching theme ‘the struggles and fears of ethnic minority women’ was identified. The negative experiences with maternity care were attributed to barriers including ineffective communication, cultural and religious insensitivity, inattentiveness and disregard for women’s needs, and isolation-related impact due to the COVID pandemic.

      Conclusions

      Overall, our review highlighted several significant gaps between the care provided and the expected care among ethnic minority women accessing maternity care services. This mismatch between their expectations and care resulted in negative experiences, as the women reported being discriminated against and disrespected. There is an urgent need to develop and implement maternity care policies that are inclusive of needs of the ethnic minority women to optimize their maternity care experience.

      Keywords

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