Internal Medicine: Open Access

Internal Medicine: Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-8048


Rural and Metropolitan Experiences during Pregnancy: A View from Central North Carolina

Ilsley-Murillo and Korrine Terroso

Objectives: Understanding health behaviors and barriers to care and access among pregnant and postpartum women in central North Carolina. Our seminal study explores the experiences of pregnant and postpartum women to provide recommendations on policy and practice for a comprehensive approach to care for women in rural and metropolitan North Carolina.

Methods: We designed a culturally tailored guided interview to assess information-seeking behaviors and barriers to information seeking among pregnant and postpartum women in three central NC counties. Four community-based focus were conducted. We used a local informant and health care worker through health departments and WIC offices to recruit 26 expectant and 2 postpartum women. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed by coding the data into thematic themes.

Results: The data were coded manually and emerging themes included pregnancy and postpartum related knowledge and misconceptions and personal, societal, and structural barriers. Lack of access to primary care and transportation were the largest barriers to accessing medical care as well as inadequate medical information from their medical provider.

Conclusion: Lack of access to transportation and adequate health care information were of primary concern to pregnant and postpartum women in Central North Carolina. The eight themes that arose in the focus groups are useful and essential in understanding the socioeconomic and barriers to care of women in rural and metropolitan NC.

Significance: More research is needed to understand the unique perspective of pregnant and postpartum women in rural North Carolina and how the public health community can reduce disparities and barriers to care. This sample of women’s voices in central North Carolina directly informs public health knowledge of the resources needed to improve women’s health throughout pregnancy and postpartum.