Exploring the challenges of women of Black or Asian ethnicity becoming a parent during the Covid-19 pandemic: a qualitative study
Having a baby is emotionally and physically demanding. The experience has been changed by the huge disruption to society, health services and support networks caused by Covid-19. People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and women from Black or Asian ethnic groups also have higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. Importantly, these ethnic groups are also under-represented in research.
A qualitative, descriptive study was designed to explore the experiences of new parents, from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds in Coventry during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Participation was open to new parents who lived in Coventry and whose baby had been born between February 2020 and May 2021. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve women from Black and Asian backgrounds living in Coventry. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Two video artists were employed to translate the research findings into a short film.
There were six themes that emerged during the analysis. These were: ‘concerns and fears’, ‘impact of the pandemic on wellbeing’, ‘support’, ‘coping strategies’, ‘positive outcomes from the pandemic’ and ‘information accessibility and future resources’. A deterioration in mental health, feelings of isolations, the ability to have a partner present during their health care visits and access to postnatal care were particular areas of concern for the women we spoke to. The need for reliable information and better access to support networks were also noted.
The study provides an insight in to the experiences of women from Black and Asian ethnicities who became a parent during the Covid-19 pandemic. These experiences need to be further explored in the wider population, so that they can be used to inform future research and policies that appropriately address their concerns and meets their needs.
Statement of funding (if appropriate): This study was funded by the University of Warwick as part of the City of Culture University Partnership funding call 'Recovery and Transformation' 2021.