Aboriginal Birth: Psychosocial or Physiological Safety

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Birth Issues, 2001, 10 (3 & 4), pp. 81 - 85
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The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness and stimulate discussion and research into maternity care options for Aboriginal women living in remote areas of Australia and Canada. These two countries have similar situations in that some communities are so remote that emergency medical care requires the use of aircraft. In addition, both countries have, since the 1970s, adopted policies for the transfer of mothers in late pregnancy to hospitals in urban centres. For many Aboriginal families this policy has been far from ideal. As a result, some Aboriginal women fail to seek early health care when pregnant. In order to counteract this, it is necessary to offer culturally sensitive maternity care that Aboriginal women will accept. The results of an evaluation of a birthing centre in the Canadian Arctic will be presented along with a range of birthing choices for remote area Aboriginal women and their families. Some of these options have already been initiated by some midwives. This paper challenges health service providers to identify the method of maternity health services required by Aboriginal families and provide creative solutions to meet those needs in a safe and cost effective way.
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