Maternity Voices: Experiences of Maternity Services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the Covid-19 pandemicDownload (PDF 2.18MB)
Summary of report content
This report presents the experiences of women who used maternity services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) organised a focus group in January 2021 and a survey in February 2021, to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions in maternity care impacted on pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.
- Over 75% of women in the focus group and online survey did not have to change their birth plan or place of birth due to COVID-19 restrictions, with over 65% of women reporting that the care they received was very good or good.
- People told the MVP that COVID-19 restrictions on appointments for routine check-ups, partners not being able to attend appointments, partners not being present throughout the whole process of labour and, finally, very limited visiting hours, all had a negative impact on women’s experiences of maternity care.
- Lack of clear information on what was and was not allowed, as well as constantly changing guidelines, compounded what was already a stressful experience for every family. These factors resulted in higher levels of anxiety during pregnancy, especially where women had had a previous miscarriage or complications, or where this was their first baby.
- There were fewer face-to-face appointments either during pregnancy or postnatally. Replacement telephone calls often did not meet women’s requirements, resulting in mental and physical needs being missed.
- Staffing levels and over-stretched staff were noticed and reported by women, particularly in post-delivery wards.
- Women with existing mental health conditions felt unsupported, reporting a lack of provision of appropriate services for them.
Healthwatch have made recommendations tailored to each of three hospitals in this report - Nottingham City Hospital, Queens Medical Centre and King’s Mill Hospital.