Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Keitra Thompson


Black women have a likelihood of maternal mortality that is three to four times higher than white women in the United States. In Connecticut, most pregnancy-related deaths are from Black and Latinx women, even though they do not have the majority of live births in the state. This study aims to explore the medical experiences of Black women with high-risk perinatal conditions and their navigation of healthcare at a tertiary care center in Connecticut. A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with seven Black women with hypertension and/or diabetes in pregnancy who gave birth at a large, tertiary medical center in Connecticut between July 2020 to September 2021. Participants’ diagnoses included gestational diabetes mellitus, type II diabetes mellitus, chronic hypertension, and preeclampsia. Participants were offered a $25 gift card for their participation. Data analysis involved coding using deductive and inductive approaches for the transcribed interviews. Descriptive statistical analysis of quantifiable chart data was also conducted. Seven key themes were identified and organized based on the individual, interpersonal, and institutional factors that shaped participants’ navigation of the health care system as Black, pregnant women: 1) impact of personal background on healthcare navigation, 2) effect of support systems on healthcare navigation, 3) limited flexibility with clinic appointments, 4) health system resources improving healthcare navigation and disease management, 5) reliance on online resources to determine points of care, 6) role of the provider in patient understanding, and 7) provider interactions that disrupted continuity of care. Participants had overall positive experiences throughout their pregnancy, but some noted areas for improvement to better their perceptions of care. Our findings will help provide specific measures for healthcare providers and hospital administration to improve the quality of healthcare for Black mothers in the state of Connecticut and beyond.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access