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Keywords

health care needs, homelessness, poverty, pregnancy

 

Authors

  1. Killion, Cheryl M. RN, PhD

Abstract

As women and families join the ranks of the homeless in increasing numbers, many women find themselves confronting both pregnancy and homelessness.When pregnancy accompanies the precarious state of homelessness, the need for adequate shelter is not being met during one of the most critical periods of a woman's life. This article focuses on the unique health needs of homeless pregnant women. Detailed accounts of the daily life experiences of African American, Anglo, and Latina homeless pregnant women were derived from an ethnographic study conducted in a large metropolitan area in southern California. Their pregnancies were difficult because normal physiological changes of pregnancy often became pathological, signs of potential complications went unnoticed or unattended, and minor discomforts of pregnancy were exacerbated by the women's invironment. Nursing therapeutics that support health maintenance and coping strategies of the women while on the streets or in shelters were explicated.