Abstract Title

PROMOTING HEALTHY PREGNANCY BEHAVIORS AMONG KAREN BURMESE REFUGEES

Presenter Name

Amy Board

Purpose (a):

To identify baseline understanding of healthy pregnancy behaviors as well as gaps in knowledge and access to pregnancy-related care for Karen Burmese refugee women in Fort Worth.

Methods (b):

Focus groups were designed to identify the baseline level of pregnancy knowledge and access to care. Discussion with key players in the Karen community led to the selection a natural leader within the population to conduct the focus groups, which were held on two different days and times in the apartment complex where the majority of the population resides.

Results (c):

Respondents shared both positive and negative reactions regarding delivering a baby in the U.S based upon their personal experiences or stories they had heard from friends and relatives who had given birth. Positive responses included the ability to receive an epidural to relieve labor pain, access to prenatal vitamins, vaccines, and medicines, and the sentiment that in America, doctors are able to use tests and technology to make sure the baby receives good care. Negative responses included a lack of proper or culturally sensitive interpretation at provider visits, lack of proper information sharing by staff about the purposes of and alternatives for medical procedures, and long wait times at the hospital before receiving care. Barriers cited to receiving proper care include transportation, lack of insurance coverage, limited English proficiency, and anxiety about not being able to navigate the health system.

Conclusions (d):

Karen Burmese women in Fort Worth view the American health care system with a mixture of gratitude and trepidation. Full integration and use of this system for early access to prenatal care will involve outreach and education efforts among the Karen as well as greater understanding and flexibility on the part of health care providers.

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PROMOTING HEALTHY PREGNANCY BEHAVIORS AMONG KAREN BURMESE REFUGEES