NCT believes experiences of pregnancy, birth and the early weeks with a new baby can have a long-lasting impact on the family. This page presents evidence on women’s experiences of the information and support available to them and their experience of maternity services during pregnancy and after the birth of their child.
Maternity Services 2013, published by the Care Quality Commission, details the key findings from the 2013 national survey of women's experiences of maternity care. The findings where possible are compared to the results of the previous national survey completed in 2010. There is evidence of improvements since the 2010 survey. There has been an increase in the proportion of women who said that they were always spoken to in a way they could understand during both their antenatal care, and during labour and birth. More women than the 2010 survey felt that they were always involved in their care, both antenatally and during labour and birth.
The 2010 NPEU publication Delivered with care: a national survey of women’s experience of maternity care 2010 is an important survey of the experiences of maternity services users in England, containing a wealth of information on many aspects of maternity care. It includes questions about both women’s care and their views, and about men’s involvement. As a large, nationally representative sample, it gives a valuable snapshot of the state of maternity care in England. The survey was carried out in 2010 and used similar methods to those employed in 1995 and 2006. NCT's document summary can be found in ‘related documents’ below.
The NPEU National Maternity Survey for 2014 Safely delivered 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.
Access to maternity information and support: the experiences and needs of women before and after birth (2000) provides an overview of two surveys, which were part of a larger research project investigating the experiences, support and information needs of women and their partners before and after childbirth. The project was jointly funded by the National Childbirth Trust and the Department of Health. The first survey examined the types of antenatal care, information and support that pregnant women had received and to identify strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of their experiences. A follow-up questionnaire was distributed approximately six months later to those who responded during their pregnancy. The follow-up survey focussed on care, information, and support during childbirth and in the following few months.