Women want to know more about the maternity services available in their area, and the quality of these services can vary substantially according to a recent survey from the Audit Commission.
Some 2,500 women completed the survey, answering questions about their experiences of maternity care. It showed women want more information about the options available to them and about the care provided before, during and after childbirth.
One in four women whose babies were admitted to a neonatal unit said they were not told about equipment and procedures. And one in five said their baby’s problems were not discussed with them.
The survey’s other findings showed that many women use more than one method of pain relief. Gas and air proved to be the most popular with a figure of 75%, while 27% of women decided on an epidural.
In general, women were less satisfied with hospital post natal care than other aspects of maternity services. The main areas of concern were the problems of low staffing levels and contradictory advice about breast feeding.