Starting strong: Exploring experiences of prenatal care among First Nations mothers
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Studies have revealed that Indigenous1 women experience a higher incidence of negative birth outcomes and are more likely to receive inadequate prenatal care.(1)(2) Few studies have examined the opinions of First Nations women with respect to their prenatal care. The aim of this study is to use an individual, semi-structured interview-based qualitative approach to identify themes related to First Nations women’s current experience, and their thoughts regarding prenatal care going forward. Themes related to overcoming barriers including transportation issues and appointment accessibility were cited. Privacy concerns and information-sharing revealed a desire for respect when accessing care (four participants). There was appreciation for the care received at the Nursing Station despite some of barriers described above. Going forward, there was interest in dedicated space and staff to deliver prenatal programming, and greater information sharing related to travel for birth and postpartum depression. A one-on-one approach was appreciated. This study contributes first-person narratives of the prenatal care experiences of women living in a northern First Nations community. As in existing literature, access to transportation, and appointment availability were reported as common barriers to prenatal care. Going forward, additional research surrounding perinatal outcomes and the barriers to accessing prenatal care among women who did not seek prenatal care would add additional context.