Comprehensive picture of rural women's needs in maternity care in Tasmania, Australia
Hoang, H and Le, Q, Comprehensive picture of rural women's needs in maternity care in Tasmania, Australia, Australian Journal of Rural Health, 21, (4) pp. 197-202. ISSN 1440-1584 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Objective: This study investigates (i) rural women’s
needs in maternity care in Tasmania; (ii) the current
rural maternity services in Tasmania; and (iii) the gap
between women’s needs and the services provided.
Design: Mixed methods study was adopted. A questionnaire
explored women’s views on rural maternity
services from antenatal to postnatal care and also
invited comments from the participants. Interviews
were conducted to provide comprehensive insights into
their needs in maternity care.
Setting: Six rural communities in Tasmania, Australia.
Participants: Women who have had childbirth experiences
in rural areas in Tasmania.
Results: Two hundred ten women completed the
questionnaire with a response rate of 35%. There were
over 150 written comments from the survey. Twentytwo
follow-up interviews were conducted. This paper
reports the written comments from the survey and interviews.
Five main themes emerged from the data, namely
(i) access needs, (ii) safety needs, (iii) needs for rural
birthing services, (iv) support needs and (v) needs for
Conclusion: This study has revealed a comprehensive
picture of rural women’s needs in maternity care
throughout their pregnancy to the early postnatal
period. There is a major lack of maternity services in
rural areas of Tasmania. The lack of rural maternity
services shifts cost and risk from the health care system
to rural women and their families.Women want to have
greater access to maternity services in their local community
and be ensured safety for themselves and their
babies. Moreover, they need more support from the
health care system and they desire quality services.