First time mothers' expectations and experiences of postnatal care in England

Effective postnatal care can support a safe and confident transition to parenthood, but it is the aspect of maternity care with which women in England are least satisfied.

The aim of this study is to explore first time mothers’ expectations and experiences of postnatal care in England. There are three overarching research questions:

  1. What do pregnant women ideally want from their postnatal care and how does this relate to what they expect in real life?
  2. How are pregnant women’s expectations of postnatal care related to postnatal care experiences as reported 2-3 months after birth?
  3. What are the gaps in women’s experiences of postnatal care in England relative to current policy?

This is a mixed methods study with two components:

  • A short online survey on pregnant women’s expectations of postnatal care
  • Longitudinal qualitative research, using two semi-structured in depth interviews for each participant – the first when she is in the third trimester of pregnancy, and the second when her baby is 2-3 months old.


NPEU Contact:
Jenny McLeish (jenny.mcleish@npeu.ox.ac.uk)
Chief Investigators:
Fiona Alderdice (fiona.alderdice@npeu.ox.ac.uk)