Title

Sri Lankan-born women who have given birth in Victoria: a survey of their primary postpartum health-care needs

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Nilaweera, I, Rowe, H, Nguyen, H, Burns, J, Doran, F & Fisher, J 2016, 'Sri Lankan-born women who have given birth in Victoria: a survey of their primary postpartum health-care needs', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 133-139.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY14067

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Women who migrate are vulnerable after giving birth. Normal postpartum adaptive challenges are heightened by separation from family and lack of familiarity with local services. The aim was to investigate primary care needs among Sri Lankan-born women with at least one Victorian-born child aged under 2 years. Health care, information and support needs and unmet needs were assessed in a structured Sinhala or English survey offered in print, online or by telephone. Fifty women provided data. Most (80%) had at least one relative from Sri Lanka to stay for postpartum support. Despite this, many had difficulties settling (62%), feeding (58%) and soothing (42%) their babies. They used significantly fewer health services on average (2.3) than mothers in the general community (2.8) (P < 0.004). Only 32% of primiparous women attended at least one First-Time Parents’ group session. Of women experiencing infant care difficulties, only two-thirds accessed care from a Maternal and Child Health Nurse and only one-third from a General Practitioner. Sri Lankan-born mothers have significant unmet needs for primary care, which are not reduced by informal support. A two-pronged approach is indicated in which women are informed about primary care availability, and the cultural competence and client friendliness of services is strengthened.