Mommy monitor: the development of a mobile app to reduce the adverse maternal health experiences of immigrant women in Canada

Introduction: Research continues to show that immigrant women experience poorer birth outcomes compared to non-immigrant women in Canada. The main objectives of this study were to 1) explore the experiences of immigrant women with prenatal care, 2) determine the perceived relevance of topics taught in generic prenatal classes to immigrant women and 3) discuss the interplay between culture, perceived relevance, and use of prenatal care by immigrant women.

Methods: Qualitative, ethnographic, one-on-one semi-structured interviews were utilized to conduct a thematic analysis of participants’ perspectives.

Results: The participants acknowledged the presence of prenatal care and services being provided by the healthcare system, though the majority did not attend prenatal classes. The immigrant women discussed a need for larger social support networks during and after pregnancy, as well as healthcare professionals who take initiative to understand their cultural values and needs on an individual level. The participants highly preferred midwifery as a form of prenatal care, and were not concerned with receiving competent care, but rather cultural sensitivity, relying on personal cultural networks.

Conclusion: Based on these findings, four final recommendations were made to provide a platform for the enhancement of prenatal care and services to reflect the needs of the immigrant women population. A mobile health application is being developed as a method of translating the knowledge produced through this study. Phase two of the study includes the development of the “Mommy Monitor” app in a mixed methods study which can be used by pregnant immigrant women in Canada. This app seeks to enhance surveillance, provide social networking access, peer counsellor support, as well as deliver a guideline for healthcare professionals to aid in implementing culturally sensitive healthcare.

Written by Elsie Amoako, Aisha Lofters

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