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The experiential knowledge of migrant women about vulnerability during pregnancy: A woman-centred mixed-methods study

(Fontein)Kuipers, Yvonne J.; Mestdagh, Eveline


Eveline Mestdagh


Problem: Within maternity care policies and practice, pregnant migrant women are regarded as a vulnerable population.

Background: Women’s experiential knowledge is a key element of woman-centred care but is insufficiently addressed in midwifery practice and research that involves migrant women.

Aim: To examine if pregnant migrant women’s experiential knowledge of vulnerability corresponds with sets of criteria of vulnerability, and to explore how migrant women make sense of vulnerability during

Methods: A sequential two-phased mixed-methods study, conducted in the Netherlands, integrating survey data of 89 pregnant migrant women and focus group data obtained from 25 migrant mothers -
living in deprived areas according to the Dutch socio-economic index.

Results: Criteria associated with vulnerability were reported by 65.2% of the participants and 62.9% of the participants reported adverse childhood experiences. On a Visual Analogue Scale, ranging from 0 (not vulnerable)to 10 (very vulnerable), participants self reported sense of vulnerability showed a mean score of 4.2 (2.56). Women’s experiential knowledge of vulnerability significantly correlated with the mean sum score of clinical criteria of vulnerability (r .46, p .002) and with the mean sum score of adverse childhood experiences (r .48, p<.001). Five themes emerged from the focus group discussions: “Look beyond who you think I am and see and treat me for who I really am”, “Ownership of truth and knowledge”, “Don’t punish me for being honest”, “Projection of fear” and “Coping with labelling”.

Conclusion: Pregnant migrant women’s experiential knowledge of vulnerability is congruent with the criteria. Calling upon experiential knowledge is an attribute of the humane woman-midwife relationship

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2021
Publication Date 2022-02
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2022
Journal Women and Birth
Print ISSN 1871-5192
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 70-79
Keywords Migrants, Vulnerable population, Pregnancy, Woman-centred care, Experiential knowledge
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