A qualitative study of developing beliefs about health, illness and healthcare in migrant African women with gestational diabetes living in Sweden

BMC Women's Health
Katarina HjelmJan Apelqvist


Gestational diabetes (GDM) is associated with health risks for both mother and child, and is particularly relevant to migrant women and women of African origin. With today's extensive global migration, contact with the new society and health system confronts the migrant's culture of origin with the culture of the host country. The question is whether immigrants' patterns of beliefs about health, illness, and health-related behaviour change over time, as no previous studies have been found on this topic. The purpose was to explore development over time, during and after pregnancy, of beliefs about health, illness and healthcare in migrant women with GDM born in Africa living in Sweden, and study the influence on self-care and care seeking. Qualitative prospective study. Semi-structured interviews, with 9 women (23-40 years), on three different occasions: during pregnancy (gestational weeks 34-38), and 3 and 14 months after delivery managed at an in-hospital diabetes specialist clinic in Sweden. Beliefs were rather stable over time and mainly related to individual and social factors. GDM was perceived as a transient condition as health professionals had informed about it, which made them calm. None, except one, expressed worries ...Continue Reading


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