The lived experience among Somali women of giving birth in Sweden: an interpretive phenomenological study

Susanne Wallmo, Karin Allgurin and Carina Berterö

BMC Pregnancy anc Childbirth, 2020


Background: The health care-seeking behaviour among Somali women is different from Swedish women’s behaviour, and this may have consequences for birth giving. The aim of the study was to identify and describe Somali women’s lived experience of birth giving in Sweden.

Methods: Qualitative individual interviews were conducted in Swedish with seven Somali women. The sample was purposeful, and the snowball sampling method was used. The interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Four themes emerged during the analysis which revealed the Somali women’s lived experiences of giving birth in Sweden. a) Being recognised and confirmed as a woman. Somali women consider it important to be confirmed as a woman by the surrounding and professionals during pregnancy and birth giving. b) Communication is important for the women’s independence. There is a need to provide a structure for how this information is given and adaptation regarding content and format .c) Something naturally becomes unknown and complicated. Somali women come from a different culture, which affects their lived experiences of pregnancy and birth giving. There is a need for improved and clearer information for these Somali women regarding pregnancy and birth giving in another culture- the Swedish context d) Professional and competent taking care of. The women appreciate if they are treated with competency and professionalism; they do not want to be discriminated. The women feel confidence in health care when they meet competent and professional health care professionals.

Conclusions: The findings in the study indicate that reproductive health care for Somali women should be improved with regard to cultural differences and lived experiences, as this affects their experience of pregnancy and childbirth in Sweden. There is a need for both knowledge and understanding in order to provide good quality care for these Somali women, especially those who have been genitally mutilated.

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