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Maternity services

About the survey

During the summer of 2007, those NHS trusts providing maternity services sent questionnaires to 45,000 women who had recently given birth, asking them about their experiences of maternity care. More than 26,000 women took part, which is a response rate of 59%.

Key findings

  • The majority of women saw a health professional when they wanted and had choice about where to have their baby.
  • Most respondents (94%) who wanted a screening test to check whether their baby was at increased risk of developing Down's syndrome said they had the test.
  • A large percentage (89%) rated the overall care received during labour and birth as "excellent", "very good" or "good" and 82% said they were always spoken to in a way they could understand during this time.

Areas of concern

  • More than a third (36%) of respondents said they were not offered any antenatal classes provided by the NHS, though the majority of these respondents (76%) were women who had previously given birth.
  • During labour a quarter of respondents reported that they had been left alone at a time when it worried them.
  • More than a third (37%) felt they had not always been treated with kindness and understanding.

Read the full report: Women's experiences of maternity care in the NHS in England.

Our review of maternity services

More information

You can find out more about the survey, including the guidance and publicity material issued before the survey, on the NHS Surveys website (opens in a new window).

You can read more about the National Maternity Survey 2006, carried out by the National Perinatal and Epidemiology Unit (NPEU), and co-funded by the Healthcare Commission, at the NPEU website (opens in a new window).