Less than half of UK women have the birth they want

Released on: 17 October 2013

In a new survey by Birthrights (the human rights in childbirth charity) - Dignity in Childbirth: Less Than Half of UK Women Have the Birth They Want – results show that fewer than half of women who give birth in hospital or a birth centre have the birth that they want.

The survey shows that the care women receive during childbirth has a profound impact on their self-image, and on their relationships with their babies and partners.

Elizabeth Duff, Policy Adviser, NCT says: 

“This is yet another study highlighting the effects of overstretched maternity care. What this research shows is that there are still a lot of women giving birth today who are not being cared for in a way that is in line with the Department of Health’s vision for a patient-centred NHS. 

“If parents are being pushed aside when decisions are being made during labour, they are more likely to feel unconfident and unable to cope when left to care for their baby. In some cases poor birth experiences can lead directly to post traumatic stress disorder. Other episodes can leave women feeling isolated and unhappy about their own capabilities in parenting, sometimes leading to postnatal depression. As the research demonstrates – 41% of women felt their baby’s birth affected them negatively - there is a clear link here between women receiving less than optimal care during and after birth and the lasting effect it has on the first 1,000 days of parenting; the most significant in a child’s development

“Being treated with dignity and respect should be the norm for parents-to-be. For many parents choice still remains an aspiration, not a reality and we are urging the government to take the consequences of this seriously and make some much needed and overdue changes.”