Early and regular prenatal care appointments are imperative for the health of both the mother and baby to help prevent complications associated with pregnancy and birth. American Indian women are especially at risk for health disparities related to pregnancy and lack of prenatal health care. Previous research has outlined a basic understanding of the reasons for lack of prenatal care for women in general; however, little is known about care received by pregnant women at Indian Health Service hospitals. Qualitative interviews were carried out with 58 women to better understand the prenatal health experiences of American Indian women from one tribe in the Northern Plains. Several themes related to American Indian women's prenatal health care experiences were noted, including communication barriers with physicians, institutional barriers such as lack of continuity of care, and sociodemographic barriers. Solutions to these barriers, such as a nurse midwife program, are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding for this update was made possible by a pilot grant from grant award #5P20MD001631-04 from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
- American Indian women
- nurse midwives
- prenatal care