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Immigrant New Mothers in Finnish Maternity Care: An Ethnographic Study of Caring

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PURPOSE: To illuminate experiences and perceptions of caring in the maternity care culture of immigrant new mothers in Finland.

DESIGN: This is a descriptive interpretive ethnography.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Seventeen new mothers from different cultures on a maternity ward in a medium-sized hospital in Finland.

METHODS: Focused ethnographic analysis and interpretation of interviews, observations, and field notes were used.

FINDINGS: Caring was part of the positive experience of childbearing and beneficial for the health and well-being of the immigrant new mothers. Negative experiences of health care impaired their well-being. The resources of Finnish maternity care and cultural knowledge of the nurses facilitated the caring. The policy and attitude of Finnish society encouraged childbearing. The immigration regulations affected support during childbearing negatively and tended to caused loneliness. The Finnish maternity care was not fully adapted to the mothers' wishes to understand the organization of Finnish maternity care, to communicate, to breastfeed, and to have family-centered care, a flexible length of stay in the hospital, and extended support after childbirth.

CONCLUSION: Caring improves the childbearing experience and the well-being and health of new immigrant mothers; therefore, caring needs to be emphasized in maternity care, health care administration, and nursing education.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2014-06-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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