Understanding Traditional Hmong Health and Prenatal Care Beliefs, Practices, Utilization and Needs

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Bengiamin, Marlene and Chang, Xi and Capitman, John A. (2011) Understanding Traditional Hmong Health and Prenatal Care Beliefs, Practices, Utilization and Needs. Other. UNSPECIFIED.


Objective: To increase understanding of traditional Hmong health and prenatal care beliefs, practices, utilization and needs and their perceptions toward the utilization of Western health care. Specific Aims: The aims of this project are: 1) Collect primary quantitative and qualitative data on the prenatal health care beliefs, practices, utilization, and needs of the Hmong men and women from three of the highest Hmong populated counties in Central California; 2) Better understanding of traditional Hmong prenatal and health care practices; 3) Highlight barriers to prenatal care for Hmong; and 4) Use findings to inform next steps. Setting: California’s Central Valley Hmong American Communities: Fresno, Merced, and San Joaquin counties. Methods: A convenience sample of 99 Hmong women of child-bearing age (18-35) and 74 Hmong men of child-bearing age (18-45) were recruited through partnership with a Hmong health collaborative and within communities by word of mouth and snowball sampling. Hmong, bilingual graduate students obtained informed consent and conducted 45-60 minute face-to-face interviews including structured and other questions. Descriptive bivariate analysis and multivariate modeling explored how receipt of appropriate prenatal care is related to Hmong respondent demographics, cultural perspectives and health care experiences Findings: Hmong residents utilize both Western and traditional medicines due to lack of complete trust in Western medicine. Respondents reported using over the counter pregnancy tests and more than half (52%) sought prenatal care six weeks after confirming pregnancy. Almost half (45%) are not satisfied with their experience using Western medicine. About 60% report a disconnect between Western and Hmong medicine. Language access and lack of cultural competence training were also at the forefront of the concerns. Conclusion: Hmong residents utilize and rely on Western health care, yet they cannot abandon their cultural and traditional health care practices due to new cultural setting. In order to provide equitable and effective health care, clinicians need to be able to function effectively within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs of consumers and their communities. Failing to provide culturally supportive and respectable health care for Hmong residents can increase costs for individuals and society through increased hospitalizations and complications.