Survey by birth rights campaigners launches 'Dignity Forum' Image

Survey by birth rights campaigners launches 'Dignity Forum'

Posted: 24/10/2013

A survey by Birthrights, an organisation campaigning to improve women’s experience of childbirth, has indicated that many women believe they did not receive the respectful care or choice in childbirth they deserved. In September 2013, Birthrights asked over 1,100 women who had given birth over the past two years about their experiences of childbirth. While the results indicate that the majority of women were happy with the maternity care they received, many women found their experience lacking in terms of preserving their dignity and choice.

The survey results were revealed in October 2013 at the launch of Birthrights’ ‘Dignity Forum’ at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The key findings of the survey include:

  • 32% of women were not given a choice of where to give birth
  • 31% of women said that they did not feel in control of their birth experience
  • 24% of women who had an instrumental birth said they had not consented to procedures
  • 18% of women did not feel that health professionals listened to them
  • 15% of women were unhappy with the availability of pain relief and 10% were unhappy with the choice of pain relief
  • 12% of women did not consider that they had consented to medical procedures

Birthrights says that it also interviewed midwives about their understanding and experience of dignity in childbirth. They described the challenges they faced in safeguarding women’s dignity as a result of staffing shortages and inadequate training.

Guy Forster, a partner at Penningtons Manches’ Cambridge office and a specialist in birth injury claims, said: “The priority in childbirth must be to ensure safety for both mother and baby but increasingly we are hearing from women who have had the most traumatic birth experience for all sorts of other reasons. It is clear to us that, whilst more must be done to provide good support for parents after the event, it is infinitely better that these situations are prevented from occurring at all.”


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