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2018 Survey

The 2018 National Maternity Survey explored the health and experiences of maternity care for women who gave birth in England in October 2017. The survey recruited women through the Office for National Statistics using the register of all births 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, a response rate of 29%.

As part of the 2018 National Maternity Survey, we carried out two pilot surveys in 2016 and 2017 to find out how best to encourage women to take part and the best ways to ask women about their maternity experiences. We made the following changes in the 2018 National maternity Survey as a result of our pilot work: women were given prior notice that they had been selected for the survey; the questionnaire and information leaflets were shortened and redesigned (rebranded as You and Your Baby); an additional reminder questionnaire was sent out; and Quick Response (QR) codes were included to simplify access to the online version of the questionnaire. In addition, for the first time in the 2018 National Maternity Survey, women were invited to take part six months after giving birth. In earlier surveys, women were invited to take part three months after giving birth. The reason that the 2018 National Maternity Survey recruited women later in the postnatal period was so that we could ask about topics like infant feeding and postnatal mental health over a longer time period.

The 2018 National Maternity Survey found that there had been some positive changes in terms of infant feeding practices, smoking behaviours around the time of pregnancy, and return to work patterns following childbirth. These developments continued longer-term trends which reflect changes in legislation and policy. One significant challenge highlighted by the survey was the ongoing need to address maternal mental health problems and to offer women the support they need.

The findings from the two pilot studies, a report of the overall findings from the 2018 National Maternity Survey (“You and Your Baby 2018”) and an infographic summary of the key findings are available to download here:

Updated: Monday, 02 October 2023 11:10 (v10)