Public Defence: Sukhjeet Bains Sukhjeet Kaur Bains at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Maternity care for recently migrated women in Oslo, Norway” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Amalie Huth Hovland, UiO. 

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An electronic copy of the thesis may be ordered from the faculty up to 2 days prior to the public defence. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Lisa Merry, University of Montreal
  • Second opponent: Professor Nils-Halvdan Morken, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Anne Karen Jenum, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Ketil Størdal, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

 Ingvil Krarup Sørbye, Oslo University Hospital


Migrant women constitute a growing proportion of women giving birth across Europe. Previous research has shown an increased risk of adverse maternal outcomes in sub-groups of migrant women.

The aims of the thesis were to examine factors associated with recently migrated women’s satisfaction with maternity care, to explore factors associated with poor understanding of information provided by healthcare workers among recent migrants in Norway, and finally to identify challenges and barriers recently migrated women face in accessing and utilizing maternity healthcare services in Norway. Using a structured questionnaire and in-depth qualitative interviews, we included women born in a low or middle-income country and with a length of stay in Norway ≤ 5 years, giving birth in urban Oslo.

Having a Norwegian partner, higher education, and high Norwegian language comprehension, were associated with greater odds of being dissatisfied with care. Furthermore, one-third of the women reported a poor understanding of the information given to them. Family planning, infant formula feeding, and postpartum mood changes were reported as the most frequent insufficiently covered topics. Finally, we identified four main themes of challenges and barriers: (1) Navigating the healthcare system, (2) Language, (3) Psychosocial and structural factors, and (4) Expectations of care.

Our findings identify health-care related factors that may contribute to inequity in maternal health and have implications for health system planning and education of healthcare personnel. To achieve optimal understanding, increased awareness of interpretation services is needed. Suggested strategies to address the gap in optimal healthcare include improved provision of information about healthcare structure to migrant women, appropriate psychosocial support and strengthening diversity- and intercultural competence training among healthcare personnel.

Additional information

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Published May 24, 2022 9:50 AM - Last modified June 10, 2022 8:32 AM