The maternity experiences of women seeking asylum in high-income countries: a meta-ethnography.

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and birth : journal of the Australian College of Midwives, 2021
Issue Date:
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The maternity care experiences and perinatal outcomes of women seeking asylum in high-income countries (HICs) are poorer than the general population of pregnant women in that HIC. There is a paucity of literature on the maternity experiences of women seeking asylum in HICs.


There is an increasing number of women seeking asylum in HICs due to escalating violence and human rights abuses. Asylum-seeking women are a distinct group whom are likely to have different needs to refugees or migrants as a result of their undocumented status.


This literature review aimed to explore the emotional, physical and health information needs of women seeking asylum in the perinatal period in HICs, to provide insights to better address their maternity needs.


A meta-ethnography described by Noblit and Hare, was applied to analyse the studies, to reflect the voices of women seeking asylum, hosted in HICs in their perinatal period.


Eight studies were included in the review. The overarching theme was 'just having to survive.' Four sub-themes were revealed which highlighted the vulnerability of asylum-seeking women. They included: 'I was never sure if I had understood', 'feeling ignored and alone', 'ongoing dislocation and recurrent relocation' and 'knowing there's someone who cares for you'.


Improved maternity care for women seeking asylum requires culturally appropriate respectful maternity care and supportive strategies such as consistent access to language services.


It is recommended that future research is targeted to explore the maternity experience of women seeking asylum in HICs, such as Australia.
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