It is good to see evidence of improvements in maternity services over the last 3 years, and it is encouraging to see more women feeling that they were always involved in decisions about their care. There are however clearly areas which remain a cause for some concern.
Women are not always being given choices about where they give birth, or given the information they need to help them decide. Around one in five felt that when they raised concerns during labour and birth that these were not taken seriously. On pain relief, nearly one in ten women (8%) who did not use the method they had planned to said they were told there were no staff to provide it, or not given an explanation.
It is good news that 81% of women said their infant feeding choices were always respected, but troubling that nearly half of women felt they did not always receive consistent advice on the subject. Some of the women who commented felt overwhelmed by the pressure to breastfeed, with a number saying this made them feel isolated and guilty. It’s important that at this time women get the information and support they need to make the decisions that are right for them.