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The Lived Experience of Pregnancy Among HIV-Positive Refugee Women: A Qualitative Study

Chulach, Teresa PhD, RN, NP; Gagnon, Marilou PhD, RN; Holmes, Dave PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000117
Women & Girls

Increasingly HIV-positive refugee women are becoming pregnant. The objective of this qualitative study was to describe and explore the meaning and experience of pregnancy from the perspective of HIV-positive refugee women. The phenomenological analysis revealed 4 core themes. “Making up stories” for privacy and protection emerged as the first theme. The second theme illuminates 2 types of isolation: a double isolation based on refugee and HIV statuses, and isolation endured throughout the pregnancy. Being-in-Between describes the third theme. Finally, the fourth theme sheds light on the experience of disconnection: from baby, culture, body/self, and health care providers.

Sandy Hill Community Health Center (Dr Chulach) and School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa (Drs Gagnon and Holmes), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Correspondence: Marilou Gagnon, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON K1H 8M5, Canada (

The authors thank Dr Denise Moreau and Dr Wendy Peterson for the feedback and support. They also thank Suzanne Nussey for the editing.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.