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African American Women’s Preparation for Childbirth From the Perspective of African American Health-Care Providers

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Preparation for birthing has focused primarily on Caucasian women. No studies have explored African American women’s birth preparation. From the perceptions of 12 African American maternity health-care providers, this study elicited perceptions of the ways in which pregnant African American women prepare for childbirth. Focus group participants answered seven semistructured questions. Four themes emerged: connecting with nurturers, traversing an unresponsive system, the need to be strong, and childbirth classes not a priority. Recommendations for nurses and childbirth educators include: (a) self-awareness of attitudes toward African Americans, (b) empowering of clients for birthing, (c) recognition of the role that pregnant women’s mothers play, (d) tailoring of childbirth classes for African American women, and (e) research on how racism influences pregnant African American women’s preparation for birthing.

Keywords: childbirth classes; childbirth preparation; pregnant African American women; racism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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