Cultural Diversity in Perinatal Care: Somali New Mothers´Experiences With Health Care in Norway


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Objective: To explore Somali new mothers’ experiences with the Norwegian health care system and their experienced needs during the hospital stay and the postpartum period. Methods: A qualitative design with individual semistructured interviews. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the transcripts from the interviews. Results: Ten women aged 25 to 34 years were interviewed. The women had lived in Norway 4-16 years and had 1-4 children. Analyses of the interviews indicated that there were cultural differences between Somalia and Norway, and that these affected the women during pregnancy and childbirth. Four main categories were central in the women’s stories: (1) inadequate integration into Norwegian society; (2) need for and fear of a caesarean delivery; (3) family support around the postpartum period; and (4) support from health services. Conclusion: Even though these women lived in Norway, their language skills were poor and they were poorly integrated into Norwegian society. Health professionals should use an interpreter when dealing with Somali women with poor language skills, especially when discussing issues relating to birth and the hospital stay. To help integrate these women into society, they should be encouraged to learn the Norwegian language. Well-child clinics should offer immigrant mothers the opportunity to participate in maternity groups to strengthen their social relationships and to integrate better. Public health nurses play an important role in supporting immigrant mothers. The findings of this study will help broaden the understanding of the support immigrant women need during the hospital stay and the postpartum period.




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