Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Health Services Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

‘Choice, culture and confidence’: key findings from the 2012 having a baby in Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey

Susan Parker, Loretta McKinnon and Sue Kruske*

Author Affiliations

Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:196  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-196

Published: 1 May 2014

Abstract

Background

To describe the maternity care experiences of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women in Queensland, Australia and to identify areas for policy and practice improvements.

Methods

A culturally-tailored survey requesting both quantitative and qualitative information was completed by respondents either independently (online or in hard copy) or with the assistance of a trained peer-interviewer. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Eligible women were over 16 years of age, identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, resided in Queensland, and had a live, singleton birth between the first of July 2011 and the first of July 2012.

Results

187 women of 207 respondents were included in analyses. Women reported high rates of stressful life events in pregnancy, low levels of choice in place of birth and model of care and limited options to carry out cultural practices. High levels of confidence in parenting were also reported. Women were less likely to report being treated with kindness, understanding and respect by maternity care staff than women answering a similar mainstream survey.

Conclusions

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have additional needs to mainstream Australian women. This study identified a number of recommendations to improve services including the need to enhance the cultural competence of maternity services; increase access to continuity of midwifery care models, facilitate more choices in care, work with the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, families and communities, and engage women in the design and delivery of care.

Keywords:
Birthing on country; Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Maternity care