Cultural qualities and antenatal care for black African women: A literature review
There have been assumptions made in maternal mortality reports that culture is a relevant quality in determining black African women's use of antenatal services in the UK, but these cultural qualities are not defined. It is therefore important to explore the association between cultural qualities and the use of antenatal care for these women.
To examine cultural qualities relevant in antenatal care for black African women.
A literature review was conducted on the CINAHL Plus, Medline, POPLINE, PubMed, Cochrane and Scopus databases with a timeframe from January 2000 to August 2017, to capture the first noted increase in mortality for black African mothers in the UK.
A subjective, complex mix of several factors intertwined with culture may impact on adequate use of antenatal care by black African women, resulting in an increased risk of maternal mortality and morbidity.
The need to consider black African women's cultural beliefs and practices during antenatal care provision has been highlighted in this literature review. It is noted that there are other factors that may affect black African women's access and engagement with antenatal care, and women themselves have highlighted a lack of cultural sensitivity and valuing of sociocultural norms when asked about their experiences of antenatal care.
Historically, black African women in the UK have an increased risk of dying in childbirth, compared to other ethnic minority groups, a phenomenon that has been noted since 2000. This has been related to recent migration and poor or no engagement with antenatal care and (Table 1) (Cantwell et al, 2011; Knight et al, 2016; Office for National Statistics, 2016; Knight et al, 2017). There have been assumptions made in maternal mortality reports that culture is a relevant quality in determining black African women's use of antenatal services in the UK (Cantwell et al, 2011; Knight et al, 2016; Office for National Statistics, 2016; Knight et al, 2017); however, these cultural qualities have not been defined. Before 2000, maternal mortality reports grouped black African, black Caribbean, black Other and black Mixed women together for the Office for National Statistics codes. However, in the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) report for 2000-2002, black African women were audited separately as they had the greatest risk for maternal deaths: 72.1 per 100 000 maternities compared to 10.7 per 100 000 for white women (Lewis and Drife, 2004).
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