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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perspectives of accessing and providing prenatal nutrition care in a rural First Nations community: a collaborative, qualitative case study Mercer, Rebecca


Women living in rural First Nations communities face challenges accessing adequate nutrition and nutrition care during pregnancy, creating a barrier to achieving optimal maternal, fetal and newborn health outcomes. Key policy documents have highlighted the importance of understanding and giving voice to First Nation women with regard to antenatal programming including nutrition care. First Nation communities are marked by low rates of recruitment and retention of health care providers, as these professionals are often required to provider a broader scope of practice and have a higher workload than their urban counterparts. Understanding both women and provider perspectives is a key step to improving efficacy of antenatal services. This qualitative project is a collaboration between First Nations Health Authority, Haisla Nation, and The University of British Columbia. Using a community-centric, case study framework, we explored the experiences of the birthing population and care providers of accessing and providing nutrition care and programs within the Northern community of Kitamaat Village (Haisla Nation), British Columbia. Data collection consisted of open-ended interviews with 13 pregnant or recently pregnant women and 4 care providers within Haisla Nation. The lead researcher transcribed interview transcripts verbatim and textual data was analyzed using qualitative computer software (nVivo, QRS International Pty. Ltd). Transcripts underwent inductive coding and thematic analysis according to Braun and Clarke. Main themes that resulted from analysis included the perceived value and experience of current antenatal nutrition programs; lack of nutrition advice provided within primary care setting; the role for nutrition specialist within Haisla Nation; and the importance of traditional foods and practices during pregnancy. By gaining insight on how nutrition care is accessed, perceived and provided within Haisla Nation using a community centric model we are able to use the knowledge gained to further the provision of nutrition care during the antenatal period for First Nation women. The success of current programs within this community, as well as the process developed to understand the on the ground experiences have potential to be adapted in other First Nation communities in British Columbia to tailor prenatal nutrition programming across the province.

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