School of Nursing
Afghan women, pregnancy, refugee, culture, maternity care, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, education, Taliban rule, health-seeking behavior
McElroy, Catherine, "Recognizing the Unique Health Care Needs of Pregnant Afghan Refugees" (2023). Senior Honors Theses. 1335.
Healthcare providers in the US, specifically in areas of high refugee resettlement, have recently been overwhelmed by the recent influx of Afghanistan refugees. This increased demand has exposed the lack of culturally competent care that healthcare workers are able to provide, leading to the question: How can healthcare providers in the United States (US) recognize the unique health care needs of pregnant Afghan refugees? This research paper addresses the question through the collection of previous research surrounding medical care for pregnant Afghan refugees already in databases. First, background information was obtained about the situation from which pregnant Afghan women are escaping, including how the Taliban has influenced women’s health and how the Islamic religion views care of pregnant women. Next, an extensive literature review was performed to raise awareness about the prenatal period, childbirth, the postnatal period, and women’s health literacy in Afghanistan. This information was organized and presented to educate US healthcare workers. Next, the information was applied through analyzing the beliefs, customs, and practices of Afghan women and relating them to the context of the United States healthcare system. Results of the research showed that culture heavily impacts health care for pregnant Afghan women refugees and can negatively impact care if not understood by providers. Education of healthcare providers is essential to provide culturally competent care to pregnant Afghan women refugees and will prepare healthcare workers as more Muslim refugees continue to arrive in the US.