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Closing the gap in maternal and child health: a qualitative study examining health needs of migrant mothers in Dandenong, Victoria, Australia.

Renzaho AM, Oldroyd JC

  • Journal Maternal and child health journal

  • Published 20 Apr 2015

  • Volume 18

  • ISSUE 6

  • Pagination 1391-402

  • DOI 10.1007/s10995-013-1378-7


We conducted a qualitative study that explored the views and perceptions of migrant women in, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia about sociocultural barriers and health needs during pregnancy and in the postnatal period. The study was informed by the Social Identity Theory and the Acculturation Theory. It involved five focus group discussions with 35 migrant mothers from Afghanistan, Africa, China, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Jordan. Five themes emerged from the analysis: (1) the need for family support and complex social environments; (2) dealing with two cultural identities; (3) the health of mother and offspring; (4) access to the health system; and (5) life-skills for better health. Pregnancy and motherhood are challenges that are made more difficult by migration. The findings point towards the need for policies and interventions: (1) to reduce the negative impact of social isolation and lack of support during pregnancy and postnatally; (2) to support greater fathers' involvement in childcare; and (3) to reconcile different practices and expectations between traditional cultures and Australian norms. They also suggest a need to test culturally competent interventions that address health and lifestyle needs in migrant women and education programs for mothers that effectively address their concerns about maternal and child health.