Immigrant women’s and families’ views and experiences of routine postnatal care: findings from a qualitative evidence synthesis

Sacks, Emma, Brizuela, Vanessa, Javadi, Dena, Kim, Yoona, Elmi, Nika, Finlayson, Kenneth William orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1287-7630, Crossland, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1063-8123, Langlois, Etienne V, Ziegler, Daniela et al (2024) Immigrant women’s and families’ views and experiences of routine postnatal care: findings from a qualitative evidence synthesis. BMJ Global Health, 8 (Supp2).

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Background: Uptake of postnatal care (PNC) is low and inequitable in many countries, and immigrant women may experience additional challenges to access and effective use. As part of a larger study examining the views of women, partners, and families on routine PNC, we analysed a subset of data on the specific experiences of immigrant women and families. Methods: This is a subanalysis of a larger qualitative evidence synthesis. We searched MEDLINE, PUBMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, EBM-Reviews and grey literature for studies published until December 2019 with extractable qualitative data with no language restrictions. For this analysis, we focused on papers related to immigrant women and families. Two reviewers screened each study independently; inclusion was agreed by consensus. Data abstraction and quality assessment were carried out using a study-specific extraction form and established quality assessment tools. Study findings were identified using thematic analysis. Findings are presented by confidence in the finding, applying the GRADE-CERQual approach. Findings: We included 44 papers, out of 602 full-texts, representing 11 countries where women and families sought PNC after immigrating. All but one included immigrants to high-income countries. Four themes were identified: resources and access, differences from home country, support needs, and experiences of care. High confidence study findings included: language and communication challenges; uncertainty about navigating system supports including transportation; high mental health, emotional, and informational needs; the impact of personal resources and social support; and the quality of interaction with healthcare providers. These findings highlight the importance of care experiences beyond clinical care. More research is also needed on the experiences of families migrating between low-income countries. Conclusions: Immigrant families experience many challenges in getting routine PNC, especially related to language, culture, and communication. Some challenges may be mitigated by improving comprehensive and accessible information on available services, as well as holistic social support. Trial registration number: CRD42019139183.

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