What women from an Islamic background in Australia say about care in pregnancy and prenatal testing Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: to examine satisfaction with care and services in relation to antenatal care and prenatal testing and to present what women say about what can be done better to improve antenatal care for women from an Islamic background. DESIGN: in-depth interviews of women's perceptions and experiences of care received relating to prenatal testing and antenatal care. SETTING: Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 15 women of Islamic background who are now living in Melbourne. FINDINGS: in general, women had positive experiences with care relating to antenatal care and prenatal testing in Australia. This is particularly so when they compared care in Australia with that of their own country. However, women indicated several issues of concern where they were dissatisfied and they believed need to be improved for pregnant women from an Islamic background. Firstly, there was a lack of sufficient communication between health care providers and the women. This was not only due to a language problem, but also a lack of cultural appreciation among health care providers. Secondly, women identified the issue of gender of health care providers as important; women stated clearly their need to have female doctors for their care. CONCLUSIONS: the findings of this study have implications for antenatal care and prenatal testing services in Australia and elsewhere. Women provided several suggestions for the improvement of care including the need for sufficient information of prenatal testing and antenatal care and the need for culturally sensitive services. In providing services for women of an Islamic background, it is imperative that health care providers take into account individual women's preferences and personal circumstances and go beyond an assumption based on women's religion and ethnicity.

publication date

  • March 2002