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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The childbearing experience of Indo-Canadian immigrant women Struser, Halina Gail


This study was designed to elicit Indo-Canadian women immigrants' experience of childbearing. Health care professionals do not know enough about the childbearing experiences of this cultural group. This may lead to conflicts and discrepancies of viewpoints between clients and professionals which may result in nurses providing care that is not perceived as relevant by the individual. This study was directed by the following questions: What are Indo-Canadian women's beliefs about childbearing? What are their perceptions of their traditional practices, in their ethnic community, surrounding childbearing? What are the western health care resources utilized by the women during childbearing? How are these western health care resources perceived by the women? Phenomenology, a qualitative research methodology, was used in this study. Data were collected through a series of indepth interviews with eight women. The initial audiotaped interviews were guided by the research questions and addressed the women's perceptions of their childbearing experiences. The data were comprised of the accounts given by the women in these interviews. Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously throughout the study. Analytic material was thus used to focus and clarify the ongoing construction of accounts. The women described very different childbearing experiences. Dissimilarities in the phenomena under investigation were more evident than similarities and were attributed to the concept of acculturation. Two themes emerged from the data: the subjects' relationships with their families and the subjects' relationships with health care professionals. Each theme affected and was affected by the concept of acculturation. Influencing factors within the two themes were respect, authority, lack of knowledge and, in the case of the family, shyness. Perceived discrimination was an influencing factor in the subjects' relationships with post-partum hospital nurses. This study concluded that dissimilarities in the childbearing experiences of Indo-Canadian immigrant women are attributable to the process of acculturation; and that the women's childbearing experiences are located within a broader context of meanings associated with the reproductive cycle. The subjects' relationships with their families and with health care professionals are significant aspects of their childbearing experiences and are influenced by authority, respect, lack of knowledge and shyness. Discrimination is perceived by the women in relation to the post-partum hospital nurses. These conclusions have implications for nursing practice, research and education.

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