HealthDay News — According to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, while health care providers are sympathetic to immigrant women’s requests for female obstetricians, they resist accommodating these requests and place greater value on maintaining gender equity.

Christa Aubrey, MD, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues conducted structured interviews with a purposive sample of 20 obstetric health care providers (10 resident and 10 staff obstetricians). 

Interviews were transcribed and analyzed thematically. The researchers found that the 13 female and seven male physicians recognized the validity of immigrant women’s preference and requests for female health care providers. 

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While they expressed sympathy for their preferences, they were also resistant and expressed concerns about accommodating these requests. 

Concerns included fear of perpetuating and exacerbating gender inequalities in medicine, the extent to which patient decision-making was coercion-free, the ability of the health system to meet the demands, and implications for training and quality of care.

“Our qualitative study suggests a need for greater research to inform policy that meets the professional and personal values of both physicians and patients,” the authors write.


Aubrey C, et al. “Accommodating Immigrant Womenʼs Preferences For Female Health Care Providers.” Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2017. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001984 [Epub ahead of print]

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