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28/01/14 09:41

Having a baby in Scotland 2013

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

A survey of new mothers in Scotland has found high overall ratings for the maternity care they experienced. The survey highlighted a number of areas of good practice while also identifying areas for improvement

The results from Scotland’s Maternity Care Survey were released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The national report ‘Having a baby in Scotland 2013: Women’s experiences of maternity care’ was produced in partnership by the Scottish Government and the the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU).

The survey found that most women gave positive (‘excellent’ or ‘good’) overall ratings to the different stages of maternity care:

  • Antenatal care – 91% positive
  • Labour and birth – 93% positive
  • Care in hospital after the birth – 83% positive
  • Care at home after the birth – 91% positive

The least positive aspect of maternity care was care in hospital after the birth. Only 61% of women reported always receiving the information and explanations they needed in hospital after the birth and a third of women said they were not always treated with kindness and understanding in hospital after the birth.

Communication between women and maternity care staff appeared to be good throughout maternity care:

  • Almost all women (99%) said that they were given a telephone contact number for their midwife/ midwifery team.
  • Most women said they always received the help they needed from the maternity care team, particularly during antenatal care (82%) and postnatal care at home (86%)

The majority (83%) of women said they had trust and confidence in the staff caring for them during their labour and birth. However, one in five reported that they were left alone during labour at a time that worried them.

Many women (44%) said they did not get enough information to help them decide where to have their baby and 25% said they were not offered a choice about where to have their baby.

Sixty-two per cent of women received the recommended continuity of carer (seeing the same midwife all or most of the time) during their antenatal care but only 44% saw the same midwife either ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ across both their antenatal and postnatal care.

The survey suggested that more could be done to promote upright birth positions, which have been shown to beneficial to the physiological processes of birth. Over half of women reported giving birth either lying flat or with their legs in stirrups.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


The full statistical publication is available at

This publication contains results from the Scottish Maternity Care Survey. Questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected sample of 4,964 women who gave birth in Scotland in February and March 2013. Overall 2,366 questionnaires were returned giving a survey response rate of 48%.

The survey asked mothers about their experiences of maternity care starting from their initial contact with a health professional when pregnant through to the care received at home after the birth.

The 2013 Scottish Maternity Care Survey was undertaken by Quality Health Ltd and commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the Scottish Patient Experience programme. The findings have been presented in a report produced by the Chief Scientist Office funded Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU) based in Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling in collaboration with Scottish Government Health Analytical Services Division.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: