'You need that loving tender care': maternity care experiences and expectations of ethnic minority women born in the United Kingdom

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2010 Jul;15(3):156-62. doi: 10.1258/jhsrp.2009.009067. Epub 2010 May 13.


Objective: To explore the maternity care experiences and expectations of United Kingdom (UK)-born ethnic minority women.

Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews with 34 UK-born mothers of Black Caribbean, Black African, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Irish descent, recruited mainly from nine National Health Service (NHS) maternity units in England.

Results: Overall, women felt that their ethnic background did not matter at all with respect to the care they received. UK-born women's familiarity with the system and the absence of language barriers were felt to be influential in getting treated the same as White women. Women stressed the need for professionals to be 'sensitive' and 'delicate' in their interactions and wanted 'continuity of care'. In general, they were positive about the adequacy of the information given during their antenatal appointments, but some women found it difficult to get access to antenatal classes. Women valued good communication and consistent information, with their views acknowledged and their questions answered consistently. They also expressed the need for better physical environments in maternity units.

Conclusions: Our findings contribute to the growing evidence about the need to improve maternity and postnatal care, and to develop more sensitive and women-centred care for all women irrespective of ethnic background.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Minority Groups* / psychology
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • State Medicine
  • United Kingdom