Cultural and contextual challenges of childbirth in conflict

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The people of Myanmar face challenges from natural hazards such as cyclones and floods in addition to instability caused by human factors, such as the ongoing political instability. Those in need of maternal and neonatal care are especially vulnerable due to these risks, which are reflected in high mortality rates.
The aim was to gain insight into the challenges faced by women from ethnic minorities during pregnancy and infant care. We set out to identify cultural beliefs, practices, and barriers to accessing care with a particular interest in those living in remote areas.

Following ethical approval, two face-to-face focus group interviews were conducted within two local communities of Karen State, Myanmar. Framework analysis was applied to the data and key themes were identified and then analysed based upon a recently developed Model of Maternal Risk that encompasses “Context, Maternal Healthcare, Infant Care and Culture”. The focus groups were implicitly addressing PPI

Data suggested that insufficient transport availability as well as reduced access to medical staff and facilities lead to poor outcomes in maternal and neonatal care. In addition, communities faced significant threats associated with ethnic conflict and inadequate response to intrapartum emergencies.

Conclusion and impact
Political instability, conflict, and poor infrastructure all affect the maternal and infant mortality due to decreased medical resources, a lack of antenatal education and reduced access to midwifery services. We suggest that impact may be achieved through community engagement, ensuring sustainability with education on antenatal and postnatal care.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Mar 2023
EventTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2023: Back to normal or forward to better? New horizons in healthcare - TCD The University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 7 Mar 20239 Mar 2023


ConferenceTrinity Health and Education International Research Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleTHEconf2023
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Ms Sophie Maudslay is a qualified Midwife registered to practice in UK and Canada. She is a graduate of University of South Wales – MSc Disaster Healthcare (2021). She is working as research assistant on a project entitled "Birth across the Borders: exploring contextual education as a catalyst for improved maternal health".


  • Childbirth
  • Conflict


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