Women's views and experiences of maternity care have changed over time

There have been many changes in maternity care policy and practice over the last 20 years and women’s experience and satisfaction with care have become more important over this period. This study used secondary analysis of data collected in four postal surveys of maternity care experiences in 1995, 2006, 2010 and 2014 to see how women's experiences have changed. Jane Henderson and Maggie Redshaw found that, in the antenatal period, an increasing proportion of women had early first contact with a healthcare professional, screening for Down’s syndrome, both dating and anomaly scans, and the total number of ultrasound scans increased over the period. Rates of intervention during labour and birth have increased and women were less likely to be cared for by a known midwife. In the postnatal period, length of hospital stay declined over time but the proportion of women who considered their length of stay too short remained constant. The number of postnatal home visits also declined and there was a substantial increase in the proportion of women who would have liked more visits. Overall satisfaction with care remained high especially for care during pregnancy, labour and birth.

You can read more about this study in Midwifery.