A qualitative study of healthcare professionals’ experiences of providing maternity services for Muslim women in the UK
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AbstractBackground: A growing Muslim population in the UK suggests the need for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to gain a better understanding of how the Islamic faith influences health related perceptions and healthcare seeking behaviour. Although some researchers have explored the experiences of Muslim women as recipients of healthcare, little attention has been paid to the challenges HCPs face as service providers on a day-to-day basis whilst caring for Muslim women. The aim of this study was to investigate HPCs lived experiences of providing maternity care for Muslim women. Method: Data was collected through twelve semi-structured one-to-one qualitative interviews with HCPs in a large National Health Service (NHS) maternity unit located in the North West of England. Interview participants included Community and specialist clinic (e.g. clinic for non-English speakers), Midwives in a variety of specialist roles (7), Gynaecology Nurses (2), Breastfeeding Support Workers (2) and a Sonographer (1). The audio-recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: The majority of participants expressed an understanding of some religious values and practices related to Muslim women, such as fasting the month of Ramadhan and that pregnant and breastfeeding women are exempt from this. However, HCPs articulated the challenges they faced when dealing with certain religious values and practices, and how they tried to respond to Muslim women’s specific needs. Emerging themes included: 1) HCPs perceptions about Muslim women; 2) HCPs understanding and awareness of religious practices; 3) HCPs approaches in addressing and supporting Muslim women’s religious needs; 4) Importance of training in providing culturally and religiously appropriate woman-centred care. Conclusion: Through this study we gained insight into the day-to-day experiences of HCPs providing care provision for Muslim women. HCPs showed an understanding of the importance of religious and cultural practices in addressing the needs of Muslim women as part of their role as maternity care providers. However, they also identified a need to develop training programmes that focus on cultural and religious practices and their impact on women’s health care needs. This will help support HCPs in overcoming the challenges faced when dealing with needs of women from different backgrounds.
CitationHassan S, Leavey C, Rooney J, Puthussery S (2020) 'A qualitative study of healthcare professionals’ experiences of providing maternity services for Muslim women in the UK', BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20 (400)
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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