Rural Women’s Experiences of Maternity Care: Implications for Policy and Practice

April 2003 – October 2004

Research Team

  • Principal Investigators: Stefan Grzybowski and Jude Kornelsen
  • Co-Investigator:  Ann Pederson
  • Support Team:  Lana Sullivan, Michael Anhorn, Catlin Rideout, Elizabeth Cooper


  • Haida Gwaii, Alert Bay, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Sparwood

Funding Agency

  • Status of Women Canada

Project Summary

This research investigated rural maternity care from the perspective of parturient women, care providers, health care administrators and local leaders. We found that women’s experiences were influenced by the attitudes and actions of care providers and the organization of health system services. The study took place within a dynamically changing health care environment in which three of the four study sites ceased offering birthing services during the course of the project. The lack of clearly defined policies supporting rural maternity care was reflected in a tenuous infrastructure for local birthing. This left local services vulnerable to the vagaries of practitioner’s attitudes, critical incidents, the variable social and historical context of the community and geography. Literature on risk assessment provides a lens through which some of the findings may be interpreted.

 Related Publications

  • Kornelsen J, Grzybowski S. Rural Women's Experiences of Maternity Care: Implications for Policy and PracticeA major report regarding rural maternity care, including thorough academic and BC-specific policy literature reviews and findings from interviews with rural women and care providers.  Status of Women Canada, 2005.