Prenatal Evacuation: Addressing the Birth Customs and Perinatal Care Needs of Indigenous Women in Northern Canada
Expectant Indigenous women in northern and remote communities across Canada are often subject to forced prenatal evacuation to give birth in urban health centers. The historical background of Health Canada’s prenatal evacuation policy is lined with elements of colonial practices as traditional birth practices and customs diminished under its implementation. Using the medicine wheel as a framework to review the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health impacts of prenatal evacuation on childbearing Indigenous women, it is evident they suffer from adverse birth outcomes, mental health issues, emotional distress, and cultural degeneration in part due to Health Canada’s prenatal evacuation policy. Federal reports, including the Mental Health Strategy of Canada, 2012 from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), 2015’s Calls to Action neglect to address health issues experienced by Indigenous childbearing women, leaving healthcare providers ill-equipped to address concerns specific to this population. By expanding on the Calls to Action from the TRC with current research, the healthcare provider’s role in providing culturally safe care to Northern childbearing women is in advocating for change within the Health Canada policy to allow for culturally safe care through the integration of education, social support systems, and Indigenous advanced practice healthcare professionals.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).