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Most women happy with NHS maternity care

The vast majority of women are happy with the care they received in NHS maternity care, new research has revealed.

More than 25,000 women in England took part in the study - the biggest of its kind - and 92% of those who responded ranked their overall care as good, very good or excellent.

A total of 58% told the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that their specific care during labour and birth was excellent, with 26% rating it as good, 10% fair and only 3% poor.

However, the figures showed that 22% of women said they were left alone and worried at some point, including 12% during labour, 6% shortly after birth and 4% during labour and shortly after birth.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of women said they were able to move around during labour and select the position that was most comfortable most of the time. A total of 27% said they had been given the choice some of the time while 9% said they had not been given the option.

Asked if they got the pain relief they wanted, 65% said definitely, 26% said to some extent and 8% said no.

Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "Overall, the report is encouraging. It shows improvements and suggests that the investment in maternity services by the previous government has begun to pay welcome dividends.

"The increase in the number of women seeing a midwife first is particularly welcome.

"However, some of the findings show that there is still much to do, in areas such as the provision of antenatal education, high quality care in labour and ensuring appropriate advice and support in the postnatal period.

"It is of vital importance that progress in ensuring high quality maternity services continues, despite the difficult economic climate and a real terms fall in NHS funding.

"This is why it is imperative that this government honours its pledge to employ more midwives to cope with pressures created by the high birth rate."

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