Perspectives of socially disadvantaged women on oral healthcare during pregnancy

Adeniyi AA Laronde DM Brondani M Donnelly L

Perspectives of socially disadvantaged women on oral healthcare during pregnancy

Authors: Adeniyi AA Laronde DM Brondani M Donnelly L
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4591Adeniyi06

Abstract

Oral health is considered important during pregnancy, however many pregnant women, especially socially disadvantaged women such as immigrants, working poor and homeless have difficulty accessing oral healthcare. Objective: To explore the perceptions of a sample of socially disadvantaged women on oral healthcare provision during pregnancy. Basic research design: Qualitative study via focus group discussions with seventeen pregnant women or new mothers receiving care at a local maternity clinic that serves a culturally diverse population facing social challenges. Participants: Women who met at least one of the following criteria: low socio-economic status, new immigrant or refugee, homeless or at risk of homelessness, history of incarceration or substance abuse or at risk of abuse. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically using the NVivo 11© software programme for coding and thematic analysis. Results: All participants reported unmet oral healthcare needs. The analysis revealed three main themes: knowledge of the importance and value of oral health during pregnancy, experiences with oral healthcare and provision of oral health services to socially disadvantaged pregnant women. Participants favoured inclusion of preventive oral healthcare provided by either dental or prenatal healthcare professionals in routine prenatal care. Discussion: Socially disadvantaged pregnant women did not access the oral healthcare they needed due to cost, dental fear and anxiety; some faced stigma and discrimination. They were disposed to receiving community-based, primary preventive dental services as part of prenatal care from either dental or prenatal allied healthcare professionals. Keywords: pregnancy, oral health, prevention, integration, prenatal care

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