The Experience of Being a Woman of Childbearing Age in Mbarara, Uganda

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bonnie L. Pope, MSN, ARNP
School of Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL

Learning Objective 1: identify three influences of Ugandan family and community customs in a woman's health care practices.

Learning Objective 2: identify an Ugandan woman’s maternal and childbirth experiences.

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative pilot study was to understand an Ugandan woman's maternal and childbirth experiences within their society. These insights will contribute to nursing research toward reducing disproportionately high rates of maternal and infant deaths in vulnerable populations in developing countries as well as within the United States.

Methods: The study's first phase involved conducting two focus groups with seven total participants, using open-ended questions on womanhood, having a baby, and community norms. Validity of study procedures and methodology are under evaluation. Data from audio tape recordings are being analyzed for themes using the Heideggerian hermeneutical interpretive method (Diekleman & Allen, 1989).

Results: A thematic analysis of transcribed recordings has been completed. Preliminary findings indicate that being a woman of childbearing age in Uganda is "hard," yet having a child affords the mother respect from her community. Implications for future research and practice model development will be identified.

Conclusion: Understanding of the meaning that women from vulnerable populations give to their bodies, pregnancy and childbirth will enhance nursing expertise in maternal and child health care practices. Knowledge of and respect for unfamiliar cultural practices fosters awareness toward identification of innovative strategies to reduce health disparities for at-risk women of childbearing age.