Mothers in a New Country: The Role of Culture and Communication in Vietnamese, Turkish and Filipino Women's Experiences of Giving Birth in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • There are few population based studies which explore the views immigrant women have of the maternity care they receive in their new homelands. Three hundred and eighteen Vietnamese, Turkish and Filipino women who gave birth in three major city hospitals in Melbourne, Australia were interviewed about their experiences of maternity care. Outcomes and experiences for women with different levels of English fluency were studied, as were women's needs and preferences for assistance with interpreting. Observance of traditional cultural practices surrounding birth and the impact of not being able to observe such practices on women's experiences of care were also explored. Women in the study not fluent in English experienced problems in communicating with their caregivers and these were reflected in less positive experiences of care. Women were less concerned that caregivers knew little about their cultural practices than they were about care they experienced as unkind, rushed, and unsupportive. Maternity care for immigrant women is only likely to improve when barriers to effective communication are addressed and attention is paid to raising standards of care.

publication date

  • April 15, 1999