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Having a baby in Scotland 2015: Listening to Mothers

Published: 15 Dec 2015 09:30
Part of:
Statistics

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

A survey of new mothers in Scotland has found high overall ratings for the maternity care they experienced.

The results from the Maternity Care Experience Survey were released today by Scotland's Chief Statistician. The national report 'Having a baby in Scotland 2015: Listening to Mothers' was produced in partnership by the Scottish Government and the the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU). It repeats the survey undertaken in 2013.

The latest results show that overall, most women gave positive ('excellent' or 'good') ratings to the different stages of maternity care, with levels broadly in line with those seen in 2013:

  • Antenatal care – 92% positive
  • Labour and birth – 92% positive
  • Care in hospital after the birth – 85% positive
  • Care at home after the birth – 91% positive

Women are accessing maternity care earlier in their pregnancy, with 93% of women having their antenatal booking appointment by 12 weeks compared with 87% in 2013.

Communication between women and maternity care staff appeared to be good throughout maternity care. Almost all women said that they were given a telephone contact number for their midwife or midwifery team. Most women who used this number said they always received the help they needed from the maternity care team, particularly during antenatal care (84%) and postnatal care at home (85%)

Two thirds of women received the recommended continuity of care during their antenatal care (seeing the same midwife all or most of the time) and 51% saw the same midwife all or most of the time during their postnatal care.

Most women (83%) said that they were listened to during their antenatal check-ups and 81% said that they were involved enough in antenatal care decisions. However, 44% of women said they did not get enough information to help them decide where to have their baby and 24% said they were not offered a choice about where to have their baby.

The majority (83%) of women said they had trust and confidence in the staff caring for them during their labour and birth and 95% said that their birth partner was always involved in their care as much as they wanted. However, almost one in five reported that they were left alone during labour at a time that worried them and 41% of women said that they did not always have enough help to enable them to cope with their pain during labour.

The least positive aspect of maternity care was care in hospital after the birth, although the overall rating has increased slightly since the last survey (from 83% to 85% of women saying that they received 'good' or 'excellent' care). Only 60% of women reported always receiving the information and explanations they needed in hospital after the birth and around one third of women said they were not always treated with kindness and understanding in hospital after the birth.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at www.gov.scot/stats/bulletins/01190

This publication contains results from the Scottish Maternity Care Survey. Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample of 5,025 women who gave birth in Scotland in February and March 2015. Overall 2,036 questionnaires were returned giving a survey response rate of 41%.

The survey asked mothers about their experiences of maternity care starting from their initial contact with a health professional when pregnant through to the care received at home after the birth.

The 2015 Scottish Maternity Care Survey was undertaken by Quality Health Ltd and commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the Scottish Care Experience programme. The findings have been presented in a report produced by the Chief Scientist Office funded Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU) based in Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling in collaboration with Scottish Government Health Analytical Services Division.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About