What women identify as positive aspects and areas for improvement of maternity care and services in Ireland: An online survey

Hannon, Kathleen, Nilsen, Anne Britt Vika, Murphy, Margaret, Eri, Tine Schauer, Leahy-Warren, Patricia, Corcoran, Paul, Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 and Daly, Deirdre (2023) What women identify as positive aspects and areas for improvement of maternity care and services in Ireland: An online survey. Women and Birth, 36 (4). pp. 341-348. ISSN 18715192

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2022.11.009


An important aspect of achieving the provision of woman-centred maternity services is to seek women’s experiences of maternity care.

To explore women’s experiences of the care received within the Irish maternity system and to identify aspects of positive care and areas requiring improvement.

The Babies Born Better pan-European online survey asked open-ended questions on positive aspects of care and aspects of care that could be improved. Data from women who birthed in Ireland within the previous five years were included. Socio-demographic data were analysed descriptively, and descriptive content analysis was conducted for the qualitative comments.

Data from 736 participants were included. Four categories were generated from the analysis: Women’s interactions with healthcare professionals included five sub-categories of competence and expertise, continuity and consistency, respectful care, communication, and shared decision-making; Interventions and procedures included the five sub-categories of medical interventions, breastfeeding support, pain relief, birth partner’s presence and involvement, and facilitating mother and baby attachment; Organisational and infrastructural issues contained three sub-categories of facilities and services, environment and atmosphere, and staffing levels; and the fourth category, Overall evaluations and specific statements, showed the diversity of women’s experiences within the services.

Several positive aspects of care within the Irish maternity services were identified, many of which related to interpersonal factors and interactions with healthcare professionals. The findings also revealed what could be changed, some of which would require minimal resources or effort, so that women would experience positive care.

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