Eighty five per cent of women who participated in Ireland’s first-ever National Maternity Experience Survey, had either a good or a very good experience of maternity care in Ireland.
Most women who took part said that they were treated with respect and dignity, and had confidence and trust in staff. They spoke very highly of the midwives and staff who cared for them, both in hospital and in the community.
While most women reported positively on their experiences of maternity care, 15% did not. The period shortly after birth was highlighted as an area requiring improvement — a number of women said that they were not involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care after birth, and commented that staff were often too busy to help them or answer their questions. Some women said that they did not receive the physical, mental and emotional supports that they needed at this time, and would have liked more assistance to feed their baby.
Of those who participated, 561 women (18%) said that their baby received specialist care in a neonatal unit. Ninety per cent rated their experience of the care their baby received in the neonatal unit as good or very good. However, 24% said that they did not receive enough emotional support from healthcare professionals while their baby was in the neonatal unit.
Women aged 16 or over who gave birth in October 2019 in Ireland’s larger maternity hospitals/units, or in November 2019 in smaller maternity units/at home and who had a postal address in the Repubic of Ireland were eligible to take part in the survey.
A total of 6,357 eligible new mothers were contacted by post in February and March 2020 and received a unique code to access the online survey. The survey closed on Thursday, April 30. A total of 3,204 women responded to the survey. Ireland’s five maternity hospitals and 14 maternity units, as well as the National Home Birth Services, participated in the National Maternity Experience Survey.
The report on the findings of the 2020 National Maternity Experience Survey, including the results for the 19 participating maternity hospital units are available at and the HSE’s quality improvement plans (QIPs), can be found at www.yourexperience.ie.