Black patients are at a higher risk of experiencing less safe and lower quality care during pregnancy and childbirth, compared to their White counterparts. Behaviors that healthcare professionals engage in that can facilitate or hinder high-quality care for this population are underexplored. We sought to explore Black patients’ experiences with healthcare professionals during and after pregnancy, as a needs assessment to inform the development of training for healthcare professionals.
We conducted semi-structured interviews of Black patients who were in their third trimester of pregnancy or within 18 months of giving birth. Questions focused on experiences with healthcare professionals during pregnancy-related healthcare, including quality of care and discrimination. Thematic analysis was conducted using a combined deductive-inductive approach. Findings were considered in the context of the Institute of Medicine’s Six Domains of Quality (equitable, patient-centered, timely, safe, effective, efficient).
We interviewed 8 participants who received care from various clinics and institutions. Over half (62%) described experiencing discrimination or microaggressions during their pregnancy-related healthcare. Participants most commonly reflected upon experiences within the patient-centered care domain, regarding whether care was in alignment with their preferences, positive and negative interpersonal interactions, and varied experiences with patient education/shared decision-making.
Black patients commonly report experiencing discrimination from healthcare professionals during pregnancy-related healthcare. Reducing microaggressions and improving patient-centered care is a key focus for healthcare professionals who serve this group. Training needs include addressing implicit bias, educating on common microaggressions, improving communication, and promoting an inclusive workplace.