Maternity services in multi-cultural Britain: using Q methodology to explore the views of first- and second-generation women of Pakistani origin

Cross-Sudworth, Fiona; Williams, Amanda and Herron-Marx, Sandy (2011). Maternity services in multi-cultural Britain: using Q methodology to explore the views of first- and second-generation women of Pakistani origin. Midwifery, 27(4) pp. 458–468.



to explore first- and second-generation Pakistani women’s experiences of maternity services and the inter generational differences/comparisons.

a retrospective Q methodology study of Pakistani women following childbirth.

two Children's Centres in an inner city in the West Midlands.

women self-identified following distribution of information leaflets at Children’s Centres. Fifteen women took part in interviews (Stage one) using a semi-structured design and 16 women participated in the completion of the Q grid sorting (Stage four).

a standard five-stage Q methodology process took place: (1) initial data were gathered using a combination of individual face-to-face and focus group semi-structured community-based interviews (developing the concourse); (2) transcribed interviews were analysed for ‘themes’; (3) the themes were reduced to ‘statements’ that reflected the overall content of the concourse using an unstructured evolving approach (giving the Q set); (4) participants were asked to sort the statements (Q sorting) according to a pre-designed distribution grid providing individual participant response grids; and (5) the response grids were factor analysed using PQ Method (V2.11), which generates clusters of participants rather than clusters of variables. Factor loadings were calculated using factor analysis by principal components with varimax rotation. This produced a list of factors, each of which represents a ‘story’ of women’s experiences of maternity services. Throughout the process, an Urdu interpreter was involved.

six factors were identified: (1) confidence and empowerment of women who had attended higher education and had family support; (2) isolation of some women from both family and maternity services; (3) women who had poor experiences of maternity services but good family support, and wanted opportunities to be involved in service development; (4) women with positive experiences of maternity care and influenced by traditional cultural practices; (5) importance of information and support from health-care professionals; and (6) importance of midwifery care to women.

there were no clear inter generational differences identified, but a breadth of opinion and experience that seemed to be influenced by level of both education and social support was found. Whereas some women had few demands of maternity services, those who had less support and those with language barriers had additional needs.

Implications for practice
care given should be based on individual need but given within a wider collaborative context in order to support women effectively. Increased maternity service user involvement would also be welcomed for future planning of maternity services.

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