The experiences of pregnancy and NHS maternity care for women who have been trafficked: a qualitative study

Catherine H Collins*, Katy Skarparis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Little is known about the maternity experiences of women who have been trafficked and further investigation is needed to better inform midwifery practice and to ensure that the voices of women are heard when developing guidance.

People who have been trafficked experience a range of health problems that could impact on pregnancy.

The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of pregnancy and NHS maternity care for women who have been trafficked, as well as increasing understanding of social and health factors that may impact on pregnancy outcomes.

A qualitative interview study was conducted. Participants (professionals and service users) were recruited using purposive sampling. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Seventeen interviews were conducted (5 service users and 12 professionals). Five themes were identified: ‘One Size Fits All’, ‘Loss of Control’, ‘Social Complexity’, ‘Bridging Gaps’, and ‘Emotional Load’.

Our findings identify that women are expected to fit into a standardised model of maternity care that does not always recognise their complex individual physical, emotional or social needs, or provide them with control. Support workers play a vital role in helping women navigate and make sense of their maternity care.

Despite the issues identified, our research highlighted the positive impact of individualised care, particularly when women received continuity of care. A joined-up, trauma-informed approach between midwives and support workers could help improve care for women who have been trafficked.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104040
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Early online date29 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2024

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