Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: To explore women's experiences of early labour care focusing on sociodemographic differences, and to examine the effect of antenatal education, using mixed methods. SETTING: England, 2014. PARTICIPANTS: Women who completed postal questionnaires about their experience of maternity care, including questions about antenatal education, early labour and sociodemographic factors, included space for free-text comments. OUTCOME MEASURES: Worries about labour, contact with midwives in early labour and subsequent care. METHODS: This study was based on secondary analysis of a national maternity survey carried out in England in 2014. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression; qualitative data were analysed using a thematic content analytic approach. RESULTS: Completed questionnaires were received from 4578 women (47% response rate). There were significant differences by sociodemographic factors, particularly ethnicity, in women's worries about early labour. Compared with white women, women from black or minority ethnic groups had an adjusted OR of 1.93 (95% CI 1.56 to 2.39) of feeling worried about not knowing when labour would start. Among women who contacted a midwife at the start of labour, 84% perceived their advice as appropriate, more in older and multiparous women. Overall, 64% of women were asked to come to the hospital at this time, more in multiparous women (adjusted OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.35 to 1.96). Those who did not have access to antenatal education experienced greater worry about early labour. Five themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: 'Differentiating between early and active labour', 'Staff attitudes', 'Not being allowed…', 'Previous labours' and 'Perceived consequences for women'. CONCLUSION: These findings reinforce the importance of providing reassurance to women in early labour, taking care that women do not feel neglected or dismissed. In particular, primiparous and ethnic minority women reported greater worry about early labour and require additional reassurance.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016351

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ Open

Publication Date

13/07/2017

Volume

7

Keywords

epidemiology, maternal medicine, obsteritics