UCLan-MIDEX Webinar: The perinatal experiences of asylum seeking and refugee women in the UK and the role of social support, by Marie-Clare Balaam

21 April 2023

Asylum-seeking and refugee women in the UK experience significant health inequalities which are exacerbated in the perinatal period. This leads to disproportionally poorer health outcomes for such mothers and their infants, including higher rates of maternal mortality, stillbirth and mental ill health. The provision of social support has been identified as a way of addressing some of the health inequalities experienced by marginalised women, including asylum seeking and refugee women, in this period. However, little research has been done to understand what type of social support is most useful to asylum-seeking and refugee women within the UK. This session will explore the findings of a study undertaken with asylum seeking and refugee women who have recently given birth in England, placing these findings within the wider context of the challenges facing migrant women accessing maternity care in the current political and financial climate. The study explored what kind of social support women felt would meet their needs in terms of being accessible, appropriate and acceptable and what they felt needed to be done to improve the support currently offered. Insights from women in the study have been used to develop recommendations to improve health and social care provision and practice.


Marie-Clare Balaam is a research associate in the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH) at UCLan with a background in history and women’s studies. Previous research explored a range of different historical and social cultural issues including community oral histories, menopause and AIDS. Her current research focuses on marginalised women and maternity care and on-going projects include work on social support for asylum seeking and refugee women in the perinatal period, self-agency and obstetric violence and the use of material culture as way of exploring experiences of motherhood. She is co-founder of the Maternity Stream Research Network.


Wednesday 19 April 16.00-17.00: Online (Link) and Adelphi Building Lecture Theatre 4

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