Date of Conferral


Date of Award

May 2024




Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Postpartum family planning counseling experience among immigrant women in the United States has primarily involved Latina immigrant women, with little focus on African immigrant women. To address this gap, a phenomenological study was conducted to examine lived experiences of Congolese immigrant women living in the United States (U.S.) with postpartum counseling and how this type of counseling influences their decision-making processes. Additionally, the study involved understanding Congolese immigrant women’s interactions with healthcare services for family planning procurement. Data were collected from 10 Congolese immigrant women who had given birth in the U.S. and attended a postpartum family planning counseling session. Analysis of data was guided by the social cognitive theory, focusing on self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. These constructs helped to understand how experiences involving postpartum family planning counseling informed women’s decision-making regarding contraceptive choices. Thematic analysis of data revealed five key themes: complexity of the U.S. healthcare system, familiarity with healthcare providers, immigrant status, perceived understanding of family planning, and factors associated with procurement. Findings of this study involve the importance of the environment in which postpartum family planning counseling takes place. Counseling experiences revealed factors that can either strengthen or undermine women’s self-efficacy and outcome expectancy motivators that influence decision-making processes. This study can promote social change by empowering African immigrant women in making informed choices during family planning counseling.