Does culture influence birth experiences of first-generation Nigerian women in London?

Priscilla Dike of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Frimley, England, undertook this study to explore the influence of cultural practices on birth experiences of first-generation Nigerian women (FGNW) living in London, with the objective of highlighting factors within emic and etic care that may influence birth outcomes for this population.

The study entailed an exploratory, descriptive, contextual and qualitative methodology organised in two stages.   Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were conducted with self-identifying FGNW with retrospective birth experiences, and eight non-Nigerian and four Nigerian midwives providing maternity care for this population. Second part entailed prospective study of FGNW at three intervals during a birth continuum. Combined epistemologies of culture care and trans-cultural theory were adopted. Thematic and ethno-nursing analytical approaches of identifying, analysing and reporting patterns and themes within the data ensued.

Findings indicate that culture exerts a significant influence on birth and maternity care experiences of FGNW as care meanings are embedded in cultural values and beliefs, economics of family and other support networks, diaspora environment, culture of expectations, rituals and taboos, kinship of support, and immigration barriers in their negotiation of maternity care. Conflicts were uncovered between FGNW’s cultural and midwives professional care as aspects of FGNW’s cultural practices warrant preservation, negotiation; re-patterning to ensure continuing perinatal health and wellbeing. Culture Care Midwifery Model is espoused as a model to guide midwives in providing culturally congruent care that will meet the care needs of FGNW and optimise their health and wellbeing through birth continuum.