Understanding A Woman's Journey to give Birth: A Community Engagement Photovoice Project

Regions: Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: health, medical travel, policy, pregnancy

Principal Investigator: Cruz, Sheila (2)
Licence Number: 16839
Organization: Aurora College
Licensed Year(s): 2021
Issued: Jun 02, 2021
Project Team: Pertice Moffitt

Objective(s): To understand what the escort policy means to the pregnant women and their escorts and what impacts it has on their overall birthing experience.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4973.

The aim of this project is to understand what the escort policy means to the pregnant women and their escorts and what impacts it has on their overall birthing experience.

The objectives of this study are: to understand the relationship of the escort to the pregnant woman and the rationale for escort choice when traveling to give birth in the Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife; to learn the roles, benefits and challenges of the escort and pregnant woman; and, how the non-medical escort policy affects the women’s birthing experience to identify gaps or improvements required in the escort policy.

This study will be using a method called photovoice to gather this information. Photovoice is defined as a qualitative method, that uses photographs and stories, and employs community-based participatory research methodology to capture the reality of an experience such as the escort policy. Participants will be asked to take a picture that answers the question, “What does the escort policy mean to me?”. Photovoice provides a way for participants (pregnant women and their escorts) to tell a story through photographs and words about their experiences with the escort policy. These images and stories will then be discussed in a group meeting. Each participant will present 1 to 2 of their photographs to the group that they feel best illuminate the escort policy. The facilitator will then work with the group to analyze the data (photographs and stories) by aligning similar images and stories together and then assigning them a theme. In this way the participants are co-producing the findings, how the escort policy impacts pregnant women and their escorts using a developed guiding questions to lead the discussion.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions to in-person activities, investigators will utilize online communication and telephone to conduct the photovoice process. The research team will use video conferencing software that lets you connect remotely for video or voice-calling meetings and interviews. Telephones and smartphones will also be utilized to conduct the interview.

Photovoice is a tool used for participatory research and is a qualitative method. It will be used to elicit what the escort policy means to pregnant women and their escorts. Photovoice allows the participants to express through capturing a photo that represents their experiences with the escort policy.

The participants will be pregnant women and their escorts from communities across the Northwest Territories who travel and access services in Yellowknife; the population will be majority of Indigenous women and their escorts. Participants (approximately n=20; 10 childbearing women and their 10 escorts) must be pregnant women and their escorts from the Northwest Territories who will or have travelled from a community to Yellowknife to give birth between April 2021- December 2021. Participants must have access to a phone that takes pictures or a digital camera and internet connectivity if a video conference is preferred.

The project will be advertised in the boarding homes where the women stay. A letter of information with the recruitment notice will also be sent to nursing stations in the communities. The research team hope that the nurses will help to inform the pregnant women of the study so that the possibility of participating in a study is not a surprise when they arrive in Yellowknife. Information will also be made available at the Northern Women’s Health Program, as many women and their partners participate in pre-birth classes. The research team will utilize snowball sampling as they know they cannot target all women at once, nor could they travel to each community due to costs and the current pandemic. Using the boarding home and nurses at nursing stations to help inform participants of the study will help the team get an adequate number of participants.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its threat to public health safety, investigators will utilize online communication and telephone. The research team will not conduct in-person data collection or site visits with study participants. All in-person participant interaction will be through telephone or smartphone or video conference by the use of secure platforms or whatever device they have to access the internet.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 3, 2021 to December 31, 2021.