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Experiences of Perinatal Care by Im/migrant Mexican Women in California's Central Valley



Background: Im/migrant Mexican women represent a significant proportion of the obstetric patient population in California and have higher documented incidence of adverse obstetric outcomes such as maternal postpartum hemorrhage and perinatal depression than their White counterparts. Little is known, however, about im/migrant Mexican women’s experiences of perinatal care, particularly communication within the patient-provider encounter.

Objectives: (1) Describe the values, expectations, and needs im/migrant Mexican women bring to their US perinatal care encounters; (2) describe im/migrant Mexican women’s perceptions of patient-provider communication within perinatal care encounters; (3) describe im/migrant Mexican women’s experiences of perinatal care in the United States; and (4) construct an understanding of the processes that govern the patient-provider encounter for im/migrant Mexican women through an inductive grounded theory approach.

Design: Secondary analysis of audio-recorded interview transcripts, field notes, original photographs, and analytic memos utilizing constant comparison consistent with grounded theory.

Results: Themes of pregnancy as a special time and social isolation characterize expectations and values of pregnant im/migrant women. However, communication within the patient-provider encounter is often deflected and obscured by the complex past experiences and perceptions that occupy the space between the women and her provider. Negative experiences of perinatal care include deepening isolation and untreated depression. In contrast, positive experiences of perinatal care are associated with themes of receiving attention and shared worry.

Conclusions: Im/migrant Mexican women experience internal and external barriers to communication with their healthcare providers that impact their experience of perinatal care.

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