City Research Online

British Muslims’ experiences of pregnancy and birth

Shaikh, A (2023). British Muslims’ experiences of pregnancy and birth. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


A decolonial and trauma aware approach centring Islamic epistemology in understanding British Muslims’ experiences of the perinatal period. This thesis provided a review of the literature, an explorative decolonising methodological approach and empirical qualitative study and analysis in understanding what are British Muslims’ experiences of pregnancy and birth.

A systematic review and meta ethnography were conducted of international papers qualitatively looking at Muslims’ experiences of pregnancy and birth. The sample were 223 Muslims; 190 Muslim women and, 33 Muslim men. A conceptual framework arising from the systematic review was produced based on the six emerging themes which were: the role of religion as a supportive factor, experiences of health care systems (including language barriers, communication and discrimination), influences of culture and patriarchy, the role of relationships and family (including level of support available), and transition to parenthood. This review laid out the paucity of research on the topic of British Muslims’ experiences of pregnancy and birth.

The decolonising methodologies approach highlighted issues of epistemicide and ongoing health and social injustices and inequities and set the context for a decolonial approach in carrying out empirical research and understanding, interpretation and analysis of data in relation to Muslims experiences of the perinatal period. Through the decolonising approach and centring of an Islamic ontology a 11-point model was created demonstrating the Islamic reflective ontological paradigm adopted for the research process.

A Reflexive Thematic Analysis was applied to qualitative online surveys and Narrative inquiry composite case study method to interviews. The process of the RTA developed six key themes: the significant role of Islam during pregnancy and birth, experiences as impacting mental health and emotional states, the importance of social circumstances, NHS experiences: the good, the bad and the ugly, empowerment and recommendations. Consideration included health inequalities and the role of healthcare providers, medicalisation, power and control over women’s, bodies, choice, birth trauma terminology. The need for faith sensitive (Islamically rooted) healthcare provision and research for Muslims during the perinatal period was posited.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Shaikh thesis 2022 PDF-A.pdf]
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