Exploring South Asian women's perspectives and experiences of maternity care services: A qualitative evidence synthesis

Nitya Nagesh, Caroline Hoi Lam Ip, Junyan Li, Heidi Sze Lok Fan, Hung Sze Chai, Yingwei Fan, Janet YH Wong, Daniel YT Fong, Kris Yuet Wan Lok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: The United Nations Women and other sources have highlighted the poor maternal and neonatal care experienced by South Asian women, emphasizing the need to understand the cultural factors and specific experiences that influence their health-seeking behavior. This understanding is crucial for achieving health equity and improving health outcomes for women and infants. Objectives: This study aims to examine and synthesize qualitative evidence on the perspectives and experiences of South Asian women regarding maternity care services in destination countries. Methods: A systematic review was conducted using the Joanna Briggs Institute's approach. Eight databases were searched for studies capturing the qualitative views and experiences of South Asian women - Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, Global Health, Scopus, PsycInfo, British Nursing Index and the Applied Social Science Index and Abstracts. Qualitative and mixed method studies written in English are included. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the JBI's QARI checklist for qualitative studies and the MMAT checklist for mixed-methods studies. Results: Fourteen studies, including twelve qualitative and two mixed-methods studies, were identified and found to be of high methodological quality. The overarching theme that emerged was “navigating cross-cultural maternity care experiences.” This theme encapsulates the challenges and complexities faced by South Asian women in destination countries, including ethnocultural and religious differences, communication and language barriers, understanding different medical systems, and the impact of migration on their maternity care experiences. Conclusions: South Asian migrant women often have expectations that differ from the services provided in destination countries, leading to challenges in their social relationships. Communication and language barriers pose additional obstacles that can be addressed through strategies promoting better communication and culturally sensitive care. To enhance the utilization of maternity healthcare services, it is important to address these factors and provide personalized, culturally sensitive care for South Asian migrant women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Cultural differences
  • Healthcare system
  • Maternity care services
  • Migration
  • Religious differences
  • South Asian women


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