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Thursday 27th October 2016

Scared women 'alone' in labour

20th March 2007

Nearly a quarter of UK women said they were forced to give birth in noisy environments.


In a study of 3,000 women commissioned by the Department of Health and the Healthcare Commission, 28% were critical about a lack of privacy, 22% about space and 19% about cleanliness. More than half said they were left alone during labour which a fifth said caused them anxiety. Many said they found the noise levels on post-natal wards unacceptable and some said that staff could be bossy and unhelpful. Only 38% said they were given the option of a home birth despite the government’s pledge to give all women a full choice of where to give birth within the next two years.

More positively, nearly 80% of the women who took part in the survey said they were happy with the care they received and that staff were generally supportive. Nearly all the women felt they were treated with respect and kindness during their initial antenatal booking-in appointment and ethnic minority women reported a vast improvement in communication levels since 1995.

Gwyneth Lewis, the government's National Clinical Lead for Maternity Services, said the results from the recent survey were being fed into a new maternity delivery plan which will, “set out how we will achieve services that provide real choice and support for women in all settings, from antenatal care through to the early child years."


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