Expectant parents from ATSI communities
Parents-to-be from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities may be looking for pregnancy care that is culturally safe and sensitive.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have healthy pregnancies and births. Sadly however, Australia’s First Nations peoples suffer higher rates of adverse outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth when compared to Australia’s overall population.
An experience of cultural safety leads to better outcomes during pregnancy and childbirth. Some expectant parents may seek specialist health services, called Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), during pregnancy to help them receive this care (there are more than 300 clinics around Australia). To find a list of ACCHS clinics, go to www.naccho.org.au.
During pregnancy it is important for expectant parents to:
- Go early and meet with their chosen carer and develop a relationship
- Have all the necessary tests required
- Find the right service for their needs
- Write down any questions they may have and take them along to appointments
Some hospitals have Aboriginal maternal infant health services that have specialist experience in caring for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. These teams can support with pregnancy and baby checks, hospital bookings, doctors’ appointments, and give advice on any concerns. Midwives’ clinics and shared care options are also available. Expectant parents can meet with their local hospital to talk through their birthing and care options. There are also specific Aboriginal health services available.
Birthing on Country (in Our Community): a case study of engaging stakeholders and developing a best-practice Indigenous maternity service in an urban setting. Kildea et al (2018)