First Nations women are one of Canada's most vulnerable groups of women. About 3,500 First Nations women are pregnant each year and they experience poorer pregnancy outcomes compared to other women. New and innovative strategies are needed to help improve health in pregnancy among First Nations women.
Selected strategies aimed at First Nations women need to consider the unique needs that these women and communities face due to cultural destruction, historical trauma, socio-economic inequalities, and other related factors. An important theme of our studies is understanding the kinds of support that First Nations women and families need during pregnancy and postpartum; the barriers faced when accessing health care; and how family, community, and culture influence this process.
Working together with a First Nations Advisory Committee from a community in Alberta, ENRICH is learning how pregnant women could be better supported through three different studies to date. One study is examining how Elders can mentor pregnant women by meeting them at prenatal visits. For more information on the Elders Mentoring and Support During Pregnancy Program, please click here. A second study has interviewed health care providers in a town close to the First Nations community and we've asked these providers about how they could better support pregnant women from within their practice. A third study is just getting underway and is aimed at understanding men's and dad's perspectives in pregnancy and postpartum.
Stay tuned to hear about what strategies we implement and evaluate through collaboration with and within the community.