Birth Experience Survey Results

Giving birth is a life-changing experience, which can affect the mother and child physically and emotionally. It is important that expectant mothers receive excellent care from their medical team to avoid mistakes that can have a devastating impact on mothers and their newborn children. 

Our birth injury solicitors conducted a survey of mothers about their birth experience. The full findings of our survey are detailed below:

The full survey results

How old are you?

How old are you

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
16-24 years old 1.58% 8
25-34 years old 26.93% 136
35-44 years old 55.64% 281
45-54 years old 8.32% 42
55-64 years old 5.74% 29
65-74 years old 1.78% 9
75 years or older 0.00% 0

How many children do you have?

How many children do you have

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
1 31.68% 160
2 36.83% 186
3 19.60% 99
4 6.93% 35
5 or more 4.95% 25

What age is your youngest child?

What age is your youngest child

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Under 12 months old 23.56% 119
1-4 years old 36.63% 185
5-9 years old 19.60% 99
10-14 years old 8.71% 44
15-19 years old 4.36% 22
20 years old or more 7.13% 36

For your child/youngest child, what type of birth did you have?

For your child/youngest child, what type of birth did you have

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Vaginal birth 49.55% 165
Vaginal birth with forceps 6.91% 23
Vaginal birth with vacuum extraction 8.11% 27
Planned Caesarean section (C-section) 13.21% 44
Emergency Caesarean section (C-section) 20.12% 67
Other 2.10% 7

Did you have a birthing plan for your child/youngest child?

Did you have a birthing plan for your child/youngest child

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 35.74% 119
No 64.26% 214

Was your birth experience in line with your birthing plan?

Was your birth experience in line with your birthing plan

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 16.22% 54
No 24.02% 80
I did not have a birthing plan 59.76% 199

Responses from survey participants:

I didn’t make a plan as I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t happen. I was hoping to give birth naturally without a C-section and I managed to achieve that.

My plan was to have a natural, intervention-free birth, if possible, via the Domino Scheme. This was not possible due to late-onset blood pressure, and I was transferred to the obstetrics team and had my labour induced and waters manually broken. This resulted in a series of interventions, which in my view resulted in the need for assisted forceps delivery.

I thought having a birth plan would put more pressure on me to achieve a certain outcome. I had a loose idea of my preferences and told the staff verbally, but left everything open.

Did you feel involved in making decisions during labour and birth?

Did you feel involved in making decisions during labour and birth

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 55.56% 185
No 44.44% 148

Responses from survey participants:

Everything was thoroughly explained and all doctors and midwives explained each step before they commenced.

My doctor spoke to the midwife about me as if I wasn’t in the room. When I questioned the doctor about the baby showing signs of distress, I was disregarded and was induced without anyone first discussing it with me.

I was told about my options at every stage and they asked for my consent to anything they did.

How would you rate the quality of the care you received from maternity ward staff?

How would you rate the quality of the care you received from maternity ward staff

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Excellent 47.75% 159
Good 23.42% 78
Average 15.32% 51
Bad 8.71% 29
Extremely bad 4.80% 16

Responses from survey participants:

They couldn’t have been more professional, empathetic or caring. I found the hospital to be very patient-centric.

I had to attend hospital after the baby was born to have her checked over. I was told by two midwives that because I had my baby at home it was not really their concern. I asked if I could breastfeed somewhere (a feeding room, for example) and was shown to a toilet. I left the hospital in tears.

I had a private room but there was very little checking in done. It was a bit lonely…the TV didn’t work and no one handy to help when I couldn’t get out of bed. I also found out that my stitches were overly tight on one side, which caused huge discomfort. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and asked to be discharged a day early.

Midwives were very attentive despite being short-staffed and working overtime.

Do you believe you were given enough information and explanation on recovery after giving birth?

Do you believe you were given enough information and explanation on recovery after giving birth

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 51.65% 172
No 39.04% 130
I don’t know 9.31% 31

Responses from survey participants:

Despite it being my fourth birth, they gave me good guidance on aftercare, particularly where mental health and post-natal depression was concerned.

I was given mountains of leaflets but no one actually took any time to talk me through them, to ask me how I was or what I might need.

I might be very naive but I had no ideas of the struggles after giving birth. I was never told about the bleeding, the clots, the pain from stitches, the difficulty going to the bathroom. Nobody informed me of any kind of aftercare at all.

The nurses tended to give me little or no information or explanations. It is mentally and physically challenging to give birth and some kindness and transparency in explaining aftercare can greatly help women.

Did you feel like the hospital offered adequate mental health support before, during and after giving birth?

Did you feel like the hospital offered adequate mental health support before, during and after giving birth

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 29.43% 98
No 48.65% 162
I don’t know 21.92% 73

Responses from survey participants:

I had very bad post-natal depression and was badgered to breastfeed even though I said I hated it and it made me resent the baby. It took my friends and family to get my GP involved to get treatment.

They asked if I needed to see a counsellor, warned of post-natal depression and were keen to state that I should follow up with my GP if I had any symptoms.

Both my husband and I were informed about postnatal depression and the signs to watch out for. One midwife also shared her own experience, which made it clear that it is not something to hide or be ashamed about.

Mental health awareness doesn’t really come into it, nor do they probably have the right personnel there – only doctors, midwives and nurses.

For how long were you in hospital after giving birth to your child/youngest child?

For how long were you in hospital after giving birth to your child/youngest child

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Less than 12 hours 3.60% 12
13-24 hours 16.22% 54
25-48 hours 28.53% 95
49-72 hours 21.92% 73
More than 72 hours 29.73% 99

Do you think you had enough time in hospital after giving birth before being discharged?

Do you think you had enough time in hospital after giving birth before being discharged

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 80.78% 269
No 14.41% 48
I don’t know 4.80% 16

How would you rate the cleanliness of the hospital?

How would you rate the cleanliness of the hospital

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Extremely clean 35.14% 117
Clean 45.95% 153
Neither clean nor unclean 9.91% 33
Unclean 7.21% 24
Extremely unclean 1.80% 6

What aspect of your most recent birthing experience could have been the most improved?

What aspect of your most recent birthing experience could have been the most improved

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Waiting times 7.81% 26
Number of staff present 13.21% 44
Cleanliness of the ward 5.11% 17
Sharing a ward 13.81% 46
Staff treatment 20.72% 69
Nothing 27.03% 90
Other 12.31% 41

Responses from survey participants:

Staff treatment
As a woman, you are at your most vulnerable just after giving birth and you need so much support and understanding. A friendly face and a supportive person would do wonders for you. Staff should be empowering you and your baby but instead are burnt out and frustrated, which makes them narky, unhelpful and, at times, rude and aggressive.

Sharing a ward
Six mums in one ward meant that you were kept awake a lot by all the babies crying in the night.

Number of staff present
There was not enough staff on duty to discharge me, so I had to wait for ages. I was also taking up a bed that someone else could have been using.

Waiting times
I had to wait six hours for a paediatrician to check the baby before discharge. I should have been discharged sooner.

Overall, how would you describe your most recent birth experience?

Overall, how would you describe your most recent birth experience

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Extremely positive 23.42% 78
Positive 36.64% 122
Neither positive nor negative 17.12% 57
Negative 9.91% 33
Extremely negative 12.91% 43

Did you experience any complications during birth?

Did you experience any complications during birth

Answer Choices Percentage Responses
Yes 46.85% 156
No 53.15% 177