Traditional patterns relating to how to handle pregnancy and birth are often challenged due to migration. The purpose of this study was to describe Middle Eastern mothers' experiences of the maternal health care services in Sweden and the involvement of their male partner.
Thirteen immigrant mothers from the Middle East who had used the maternal health services in Sweden were interviewed using focus group discussions and individual interviews. These were taped, transcribed and analysed according to Content analysis.
The four main categories that developed were:
• Access to the professional midwife
• Useful counselling
• Stable motherhood in transition
• Being a family living in a different culture
According to the respondents in this study, understanding the woman's native language or her culture was not vital to develop a good relationship with the midwife. Instead the immigrant woman developed trust in the midwife based on the knowledge and the empathy the midwife imparted.
Increasing the amount of first trimester antenatal visits could avoid spontaneous visits to the emergency clinic. There was a greater need for involvement and support by the father during the perinatal period, such as caring for older children and carrying out household chores since the mothers' earlier female network was often lost.
There is a need to involve immigrant parents in the available parental education in order to prepare them for parenthood in their new country as well as to explore their altered family situation. Collecting immigrant women and their partner's, experiences of maternal health care services offers a possibility to improve the existing care, both in content, access and availability where the timing of visits and content require further evaluation.