The Experiences of Pregnant Women Accessing Food in Remote Aboriginal Communities on Haida Gwaii

Shannon Greenwood, RM, and Jude Kornelsen, PhD

Context: Despite strong evidence supporting the importance of good nutrition in pregnancy for optimal perinatal outcomes, little research exists regarding the experiences of women’s access to food in pregnancy. This is particularly true of research on remote Aboriginal women, who may be constrained by local availability and costs of local food.
Methods: This research was carried out in a case study design and in a semistructured qualitative interview format. Twelve women in the postpartum period on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, were interviewed. Ethics approval was granted. Results were extracted, using a thematic analysis based on nine research questions.
Results: Three main themes emerged through the interviews with the participants: (1) access to traditional foods, (2) enablers to access, and (3) financial limitations.
Conclusion: Aboriginal women in remote communities experience challenges accessing food during pregnancy. However, the integration of traditional foods into their diet was viewed as a strong contributor to improving nutrition in pregnancy. For participants in this study, accessing traditional foods embodied cultural values, provided opportunities for autonomy, and directly contributed to the health and well-being of pregnant mothers.

Rural maternity care, nutrition in pregnancy, midwifery, qualitative research

This article has been peer-reviewed.


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