2018 survey of women’s experiences of maternity care statistics released
NHS maternity services provide care and support to women before giving birth (antenatal care), during the birth and in the 6-8 week period following the birth (postnatal care). Understanding the experiences of the women who use them is essential to providing high-quality care.
This maternity survey received responses from more than 17,600 women who gave birth during February 2018 (as well as January 2018 if trusts had smaller numbers of births during February). This is a response rate of 37%. We asked women about their experiences of care during labour and birth, as well as the quality of antenatal and postnatal support they received.
As in previous years, the report shows that overall, women reported many positive experiences of maternity care in 2018. However, while in 2017 we reported there had been small improvements across most questions from 2013 onwards, very few questions showed this trend continuing between 2017 and 2018, with some questions showing a decline.
In line with previous maternity surveys, results for questions on postnatal care, either in the hospital or once they returned home, remain less positive than other aspects of the maternity pathway. Though the 2017 survey saw some improvements, there has been little further change in 2018. Information provision and communication are areas where experiences could be improved, particularly around infant feeding
We also analysed the results to look at the experiences of different groups of women. Results this year showed very few differences based on the variables that were tested. Continuity of carer (seeing the same midwife) did seem to affect average experience scores, suggesting that ongoing relationships can have a positive impact on women’s experiences.
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