While nurses and midwives receive training to understand and respect cultural needs, Aboriginal women are still facing culturally unsafe care during their maternity journey.
That’s one of the key findings of The Birthing on Noongar Boodjar Project, led by Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Research Centre, which investigated the experiences of 39 Aboriginal women.
All women interviewed reported having positive and supportive experiences but just over half indicated that they had a negative experience at some point.
Both Aboriginal women and practising midwives reported experiencing or witnessing racism or culturally unsafe practices.
The four-year study, which was presented during a symposium that ran April 9 to 11 at Burswood on Swan, found that birthing on country, family support and providing an environment in which mothers felt comfortable to ask questions and empowered to make decisions were vital to maternal wellbeing.
Study lead Professor Rhonda Marriott, director of Ngangk Yira, said the findings highlighted the lack of access to high-quality, culturally secure maternity care for Aboriginal women.
“It’s time to strengthen efforts to establish honest and respectful relationships between health professionals and Aboriginal women,” Marriott said. "We need to understand what women want and ensure that they get the right maternity care, especially culturally rich birthing experiences in hospitals, and safer assisted births in the bush."
Nursing Review spoke with Marriott to find out what small changes nurses and midwives can make to improve the experiences of Aboriginal women during their maternity journey.Do you have an idea for a story?
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