The Impact of Culturally-Centered Care on Peripartum Experiences of Autonomy and Respect in Community Birth Centers: A Comparative Study

This article was originally published here

Matern Child Health J. 2021 Nov 24. doi: 10.1007/s10995-021-03245-w. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: National studies report that birth center care is associated with reduced racial and ethnic disparities and reduced experiences of mistreatment. In the US, there are very few BIPOC-owned birth centers. This study examines the impact of culturally-centered care delivered at Roots, a Black-owned birth center, on the experience of client autonomy and respect.

METHODS: To investigate if there was an association between experiences of autonomy and respect for Roots versus the national Giving Voice to Mothers (GVtM) participants, we applied Wilcoxon rank-sum tests for the overall sample and stratified by race.

RESULTS: Among BIPOC clients in the national GVtM sample and the Roots sample, MADM and MORi scores were statistically higher for clients receiving culturally-centered care at Roots (MADM p < 0.001, MORi p = 0.011). No statistical significance was found in scores between BIPOC and white clients at Roots Birth Center, however there was a tighter range among BIPOC individuals receiving care at Roots showing less variance in their experience of care.

CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: Our study confirms previous findings suggesting that giving birth at a community birth center is protective against experiences of discrimination when compared to care in the dominant, hospital-based system. Culturally-centered care might enhance the experience of perinatal care even further, by decreasing variance in BIPOC experience of autonomy and respect. Policies on maternal health care reimbursement should add focus on making community birth sustainable, especially for BIPOC provider-owners offering culturally-centered care.

PMID:34817759 | DOI:10.1007/s10995-021-03245-w