National Maternity Surveys are important to find out about women's health and experiences of care around the time of pregnancy. Information from these surveys provides snapshots of care and points for comparison over time. The results of these surveys are used to help improve maternity care throughout the country.
You and Your Baby Survey 2020
You and Your Baby 2020 explored the health and experiences of maternity care for women who gave birth during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The study included a survey of 4,611 women recruited through the register of all births in England (the 2020 National Maternity Survey (NMS)). The women in the 2020 NMS gave birth in England during May 2020.
The study also included a parallel survey of 1,622 women recruited through social media. The women in the social media survey gave birth in the UK between March and August 2020.
The findings indicate that some aspects of women's health and maternity care remained consistent or even improved during Covid-19, compared with findings from before the pandemic. Overall levels of satisfaction with care during pregnancy and birth remained high. The findings also indicate, however, that other aspects of women's health and care were negatively impacted by Covid-19, particularly after giving birth. Overall levels of satisfaction with care during the postnatal period fell considerably compared with findings from before the pandemic.
Taken together the survey findings suggest that giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic may have brought additional stresses for women and families at what can already be a challenging time. Covid-19 may have introduced new challenges to maternity services and also amplified some of the existing problems in parts of the system.
A full report of the findings from You and Your Baby 2020 (both the 2020 NMS and social media survey) and separate infographic summaries of the key findings from the 2020 NMS and the social media survey are available to download here:
If you would like to look at the findings from the previous National Maternity Surveys, please click on the links below.
Previous maternity surveys
You and Your Baby Survey 2018
The You and Your Baby Survey 2018 explored the health and wellbeing of women who had recently given birth in England. Women were invited to take part in the survey six months after giving birth and a total of 4,509 women returned postal or online questionnaires. Looking at trends over time, the results suggest that there have been some positive changes in recent years in terms of infant feeding practices, smoking behaviours around the time of pregnancy, and return to work patterns following childbirth. These developments continue longer-term trends which reflect changes in legislation and policy. One significant challenge highlighted by the survey is the ongoing need to address maternal mental health problems and to offer women the support they need.
A report of the findings from the survey and an infographic summary of the key findings are available to download here:
It is important that we are able to include a large number of women in the national maternity surveys so that our findings are based on the views and experiences of a wide range of mothers. Therefore, we are continually working to improve the way that we carry out the surveys and to develop the questionnaires that we send to women. In preparation for the 2018 survey, we carried out some pilot surveys to find out how best to encourage women to take part and the best ways to ask women about their maternity experiences.
A report of the key findings from the pilot surveys is available to download here:
Findings of the 2014 National Maternity Survey, launched on 26th February, show that, compared with earlier surveys in 2006 and 2010, women are realising they are pregnant and seeing a health professional earlier, with 96% seeking care by 12 weeks. Other results show that postnatal hospital stays are continuing to get shorter and the number of postnatal visits is declining. Overall satisfaction with care remains high although, as in earlier surveys, satisfaction with postnatal care is lower than that for antenatal care or care in labour and delivery.
The results of the 2014 National Maternity Survey is available to download:
More than 5000 women who had recently given birth responded to a questionnaire in 2010 about their experience of care during pregnancy, childbirth and the early months at home. This survey found that most women were positive about their care, although satisfaction with postnatal care was lower suggesting that this is an area of concern.
The survey was funded by the Department of Health.
The results of the 2010 survey on women's pregnancy, labour and birth and postnatal care and their views of care can be downloaded here:
The NPEU carried out a similar National Survey of Experience of Maternity Care in 2006 providing a benchmark of practice and a baseline for measuring change over time. The results of that national survey of recent mothers were published in March 2007 and can be downloaded here:
Further research has been carried out using the survey data from 2006 and 2010 including studies on: measuring women's perceptions of care, worries about labour and birth, health problems in pregnancy, women's experience of caesarean section, induction of labour and infant feeding, health outcomes for women, anxiety and depression during pregnancy and after childbirth, and social and ethnic differences in antenatal screening. View the NPEU publications.