The geography of belonging: the experience of birthing at home for First Nations women

Health Place. 2010 Jul;16(4):638-45. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.02.001. Epub 2010 Feb 10.


The number of rural hospitals offering maternity care in British Columbia has significantly declined since 2000, mirroring trends of closures and service reductions across Canada. The impact on Aboriginal women is significant, contributing to negative maternal and newborn health and social outcomes. The present qualitative case study explored the importance of local birth for Aboriginal women from a remote BC community after the closure of local maternity services. Data collection consisted of 12 interviews and 55 completed surveys. The average participant age was 32 years old at the time of the study. From the perspective of losing local services, participants expressed the importance of local birth in reinforcing the attributes that contributed to their identities, including the importance of community and kinship ties and the strength of ties to their traditional territory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • British Columbia
  • Community Participation
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Female
  • Health Facility Closure
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Home Childbirth / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / ethnology*
  • Maternal Health Services
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Rural Health Services
  • Social Identification
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel*