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Providing culturally competent postpartum care for South Asian women

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Maintain an active approach. SA women may prefer to view the physician as an expert, rather than a partner with whom to develop a collaborative relationship. Thus, they may feel more comfortable with direct feedback rather than a passive or reflective approach.

Suggest a postpartum support group. In a U.K. study of 17 SA postpartum women, age 20 to 45, group therapy improved health outcomes and overall satisfaction.4 It may be particularly helpful to SA patients if group therapy is facilitated by a culturally sensitive moderator.

Help patients overcome logistical barriers. Lack of transportation, childcare difficulties, and financial limitations are common deterrents to treatment. These barriers may be particularly challenging for SA women of lower socioeconomic status. Postpartum mothers who feel overtasked with caring for their children and undertaking household duties may feel less able to complete therapy.

Screen for adherence. Although SA patients may view clinicians as authority figures, adherence with medications or treatment plans should not be assumed. Many patients may quietly avoid treatments or recommendations instead of discussing their ambivalence with their clinicians.

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