Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Lived realities: Birthing experiences of Māori women under 20 years of age

Kendall Stevenson, Sara Filoche, Fiona Cram, Beverley Lawton


This paper explores the birthing experiences of 16 pregnant Māori women under 20 years of age who were involved in E Hine, a Kaupapa Māori (by Māori, for Māori) longitudinal qualitative research study of young Māori women’s journeys through pregnancy and into motherhood that ran from 2010 to 2013. This study provided these young women with an opportunity to share their birthing experiences during kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) interviews. Interpretive phenomenological analysis guided the analysis of these interviews. Following analysis, four themes emerged: some tikanga Māori (Māori practices) are being practised today; whānau (family) support is critical for these young Māori mothers; current system issues impact negatively on birth experiences; and adaptation to motherhood varies. From these themes, positive practices were drawn out that can be applied to clinical practice to improve the birthing experiences of young Māori women. These practices include promoting positive communication between patient and providers, facilitating supportive whānau environments, and enhancing support services accessibility.

Full Text:


Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740