Perspectives on preconception health among migrant women in Australia: A qualitative study

Adina Lang, Rebecca Bartlett, Tracy Robinson, Jacqueline Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cultural beliefs, practices and experiences significantly influence pregnancy preparation. Limited in-depth information exists regarding how women from migrant and refugee backgrounds(migrant women) prepare for pregnancy. This study explored pregnancy planning, preconception lifestyles, awareness, experiences and healthcare needs of migrant women in Australia.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 25 women recruited through a diverse community in Melbourne, Australia (November 2017-February 2018). Discussions explored pregnancy planning, preconception health awareness, experiences and information needs. Qualitative data was analysed iteratively, through content and thematic analysis.
Findings: Four themes were identified: pregnancy planning experiences and perspectives, preconception health awareness and behaviours, social and cultural influences on pregnancy planning, and health information needs. Women had limited understanding of the concept or importance of preconception health, limited access to preconception health information and most women with children had experienced at least one unplanned pregnancy. Cultural mores constrained community discussion of preconception health in the context of sexual and reproductive health. Social factors emerged as predominant preconception concerns. Women reported wanting more information on preconception health through multiple, broad-reaching avenues, paired with timely, sensitive healthcare engagement.
Conclusion: Information for women addressing preconception health and pregnancy planning is limited. Our study demonstrates additional cultural and social nuances that need to be understood when working with migrant women. Discomfort raising reproductive and preconception health discussions with healthcare providers was a reported concern. Integration of culturally-sensitive preconception care within routine client assessments warrants exploration. Emphasis of the importance of preconception care for all women is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number4
Early online date05 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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