A qualitative study of Pakistani immigrant women's experiences of childbirth in Germany

Al-Kebsi, Huda

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Although there has been clear interest in immigrant women’s maternity health, there are no studies on Pakistani immigrant women in Germany. The study presented in this thesis helps to fill this gap by seeking to examine the childbirth experiences of this group of women. The study was based on qualitative research of participant observations, in-depth interviews and focal group discussions with a sample of 19 Pakistani immigrant women living in the cities of Worms, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen. In addition, expert interviews were conducted with health professionals and specialists on immigrants’ issues to complement the results of this study. The stories of the women revealed how they perceive themselves, their identity and personhood and allowed deep investigation of the various meanings attributed to their childbirth experiences. As Pakistani immigrant women, they needed to learn about a new system while lacking basic needs of mutual understanding. Among the chief complications the women faced was a sense of powerlessness and ignorance about their birth experience due to lack of control, having no active say in decisions about their care and being poorly prepared for the birth process. Some of these women were under more pressure because of the absence of their traditional family and social support structure. Upon migration, traditional practices observed in their societies of origin were not possible in a different social environment. These women found themselves unable to follow some traditional beliefs and practices. To deal with these challenges, the women developed strategies, represented by establishing new social networks and developing self-dependence attitudes, that helped them to adapt to the different social settings. The study recommends a more responsive and immigrant-friendly health approach based on increased access to information and an attentive and culturally competent attitude – one that takes into account woman’s knowledge and bodily experience. Such an approach has the potential to reduce anxiety and discomfort on the side of immigrant women as well as among healthcare providers.

Document type: Master thesis
Publisher: CrossAsia E-Publishing
Place of Publication: Heidelberg ; Berlin
Date: 2016
Supervisor: Polit, Dr. Karin
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 29 April 2016
Faculties / Institutes: Universitäten / Institute > South Asia Institute / Department of Ethnology
DDC-classification: Customs, etiquette, folklore
Medical sciences Medicine
Controlled Subjects: Deutschland, Pakistanerin, Geburt
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deutschland, Pakistan, Immigrantin, Geburt, Erfahrung / Germany, Pakistani Women, Childbirth, Experiences
Subject (classification): Anthropology
Countries/Regions: Pakistan
Series: Themen > Health and Society in South Asia Series
Volume: 14