Doctoral Project

Heath care providers’ perceptions of the reproductive challenges and experiences among Asian Indian women living in Silicon Valley

Objective: To identify common reproductive challenges among Asian Indian (AI) women living in Silicon Valley as perceived by healthcare providers (HCP). Design: A 71-item investigator-developed survey Setting: The survey was available on-line to all HCPs in California Santa Clara county, 75% of respondents were affiliated with El Camino Hospital Mountain View. Participants: Convenience sample of 78 respondents: 34% mother-baby nurses, 24% labor-delivery nurses, 21% OB/GYNs, 7% CNMs, 14% other HCP; 89% female; 55% Caucasian, 24% Asian. Methods: Likert-type scales comparing prevalence of certain reproductive challenges among AI women and women from other race-ethnic groups and openended questions regarding HCPs’ experience caring for AI women. Results: AI women seeking reproductive services in Silicon Valley are more likely than women from other race ethnic groups to experience unconsummated marriages, vaginismus, and difficulty tolerating pelvic exams. They are also more likely to lack of knowledge about sex and reproduction. AI women exhibited increased anxiety around pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, newborn care, as well as reluctance to enroll in classes or prepare a birth plan. Nurses found clients’ lack of understanding of the training and function of the nurses in the United States, as well as AI patients’ families’ large role decisionmaking, to be obstacles to establishing therapeutic relationship with AI patients. Conclusion: HCPs need to be aware of prevalence of vaginismus in AI women. Culturally competent prenatal classes addressing identified reproductive challenges of AI women need to be developed and expectant parents and family members need to be encouraged to participate. HCPs need to be educated on culturally competent care to AI patients.