'Kindness' concern in Scottish Maternity Care Survey

pregnant woman Most women rated their maternity care as "good" or "excellent"

A survey of women who gave birth last year found a third of them said they were not always treated with kindness in hospital after the birth.

However, the Scotland's Maternity Care Survey said most women rated their care as "good" or "excellent".

The survey of more than 2,000 women was carried out independently for the Scottish government.

More than 90% of women rated their antenatal care and care during labour and birth as positive.

This fell to 83% when it came to care in hospital after the birth.

However, 5% of women said they were not treated with kindness or understanding while in hospital after giving birth and a further 28% indicated this happened sometimes.

Many women said they did not get the information and explanations they needed and the report also found more could be done to promote upright positions, which have been shown to help with the birthing process.

National picture

The Scottish government said it had already begun to tackle some of the issues identified in the survey.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: "This survey provides us with a national picture of Scottish women's experiences in hospitals across the country.

"It is extremely encouraging that so many of the mums surveyed rated their care as either excellent or good, however there is no excuse for poor quality care in any circumstances, no matter how rare."

The survey, the first of its kind in 15 years, sent questionnaires to a randomly selected sample of 4,964 women who gave birth in Scotland in February and March 2013.

Overall 2,366 questionnaires were returned giving a survey response rate of 48%.

Other key findings included:

  • 99% of respondents said they were given a dedicated contact telephone number they could use
  • 82% of women who used this number during pregnancy always received the help they needed
  • 95% of women surveyed said their partner or companion was involved in their care as much as they wanted
  • 87% reported they had their first antenatal assessment by 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • 62% of women saw the same midwife for all/most of their antenatal check-ups
  • Only 56% said they received enough information to help them decide where to have their baby
  • Only 25% said they were offered the choice of a home birth
  • Almost three quarters of women were able to move around and choose positions in which they were most comfortable during labour
  • 83% said they had trust and confidence in the staff caring for them during their labour and birth
  • One in five reported that they were left alone during labour at a time that worried them

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