Linda Maldonado, PhD, RN, wants to empower Latina mothers through her research. Why is the assistant professor – an expert in maternal-child health – concerned about their welfare? “We know that of all the Latina subgroups, Puerto Rican women have the poorest maternal/fetal outcomes,” she notes. She further explains that these women in particular are exposed to various stressors which include “fear of loss of work and other financial concerns due to pregnancy, concerns over neighborhood crime, and the stress of the cultural expectation that they (often singularly) care for older family members while simultaneously caring for their own family and themselves.” This is the basis for her scholarly endeavors.
“I am examining how Latinas, particularly childbearing Puerto Rican women, are negotiating multiple roles of caring for older family members, their own children, and themselves during pregnancy while living in an urban setting (Philadelphia),” Dr. Maldonado says, adding “How these stressors, over time, affect their maternal/fetal outcomes is one of the foundational questions I am asking.”
Her goal is a patient-directed solution to counter the high rates of missed prenatal care and thereby preventing the poor maternal/fetal outcomes specifically found in the Puerto Rican sub-group of Latinas. “My research is currently in its early stages with individual interviews and focus groups but eventually will be ready for the intervention building phase,” Dr. Maldonado offers.
She has a very personal connection to her study population. Dr. Maldonado’s mother is from Puerto Rico and many of her family members have settled in large urban areas of the United States. They, too, have experienced some of the same stressors as the childbearing Latinas in her research. A solution is important to her.