Maternity care through the eyes of Southern European immigrant parents in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGaceta Sanitaria. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2020.11.004
Objective To explore Southern European immigrant mothers and fathers’ experiences of reproductive health services in Norway, and their perceptions of health providers’ beliefs and attitudes regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Method We employed a qualitative research methodology with two focus group discussions and 11 in-depth interviews with 4 fathers and 11 mothers from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, whose children were born in Norway. Thematic Analysis was conducted to identify and analyze patterns across the data. Results We identified three themes as key elements in parents’ experiences: experiences with the coverage and organization of the Reproductive Health Services; relational experiences with health providers; and pregnancy and delivery as a culturally-shaped event. The immigrant parents experienced a clash between their expectations and the procedures and health facility environment encountered in Norway regarding check-ups, diagnosis tests, childbirth preparation courses, and health facilities. Informants perceived that the maternity care practices of the host country were underpinned by the health care providers’ cultural understandings of labor and pregnancy. Particularly, they experienced a less interventionist approach towards pregnancy and childbirth. Conclusions The experiences of immigrant parents provide relevant information to improve reproductive health services in a cross-cultural context. Inmigration brings new challenges that must be addressed from a perspective of cultural competence. These services should acknowledge diversity in cultural beliefs around childrearing and involve both fathers and mothers in decision-making.