Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go!

Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go! Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go is part of the ‘Giving mums a fair go: Culturally-responsive care for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds” Study, a multi-year research study supported by the Australian Research Council and the University of Melbourne.

One-third of births in Australia are to migrant women. Migrant women are more likely to have negative birth experiences, have difficulties accessing and utilising maternity care services, and have greater risks of poor health outcomes, compared to Australian-born women. These are their stories about pregnancy, childbirth, and transitioning to parenthood in Australia.

Compared to Australian-born women, refugee an migrant women in Australia have worse birth experiences including discrimination and lack of culturally-respectful care, seek maternity care services later and less often, and have greater risks of poor health outcomes including stillbirth, neonatal morbidity, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression.

How do migrant women experience pregnancy, birth, and the transition to motherhood in Australia? What does respectful maternity care look like to them? How can maternity services better support migrant women to have healthy pregnancies and birth?

We want to build a better understanding of what migrant women and their families actually go through on their journeys through pregnancy to parenthood. These are difficult questions to ask and answer. These journeys take place in their homes, in their hearts, within their families and communities – in Australia and overseas, and within health services alongside their healthcare workers. Many of these stories are intimate, private, and difficult to explain.

So we gave some research participants in our study a camera and asked them to show us – with photographs – what pregnancy, childbirth, and transitioning to parenthood was really like for them, through their own eyes.

The Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go study included migrant women volunteers from communities around Victoria, from younger to older parents, women on their first (or last!) pregnancies, While these women shared a common experience of migrating to Australia from overseas, they each have their own unique migration journey, and unique stories of pregnancy, childbirth, and the transition to parenthood. They wanted to contribute to the improvement of maternity care services for other migrant women. So, they have generously shared these stories with us through their photographs, and through one-on-one interviews and group workshops. Sharing these stories likewise has the power to humanise the nuanced journeys through pregnancy and parenthood for policy-makers and clinicians to better understand the challenges and opportunities to improve services.

The result of these activities is this series of images, alongside a caption, quote, or story in the participants’ own words. Collectively, they illustrate their joy, their challenges, and their hopes during pregnancy and beyond. They show us something deeply moving about the diversity of experiences migrant women have during pregnancy, childbirth, and the transition to parenthood, by capturing snapshots of some of the emotions, experiences, difficulties, and empowering moments that pregnancy, birth, and parenthood bring.

We are sincerely grateful to the participants for sharing these intimate moments of their lives with us. We hope that these stories reflect some of the diversity and complexity of their experiences.

We dream of a fairer future for migrant women in Australia, with healthy mums and bubs, positive experiences with healthcare services, and where they feel at home in their new communities. We dream of a future where all migrant mums, their babies, and their families have a “Fair Go” in Australia.

We are grateful to our community and clinical collaborators who helped connect us with participants, provided valuable feedback on our research, and cared for our research participants: Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, Birth for Humankind, and The Royal Women’s Hospital.

Visit the photographic galleries for this project


Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go Project Galleries
Giving Migrant Mums a Fair Go Project Galleries – click the image to visit the galleries


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