Mumsnet childbirth survey results

July 2014: We asked you what your views are on giving birth in the UK today.

Ahead of the inaugural Bumpfest, over 1,600 Mumsnetters recalled their pre-birth expectations - and the impact of giving birth on everything from your sex lives to your willingness to go through it all again.

1. What kind of birth did you experience?
Answer Options Response Percent
Vaginal delivery (no medical intervention) 56%
Assisted vaginal delivery (i.e. forceps or ventouse) 15%
Emergency c-section 15%
Planned c-section 11%
Other (please specify) 2%
Not stated 1%

 

2. Where did you give birth?
Answer Options Response Percent
In an NHS hospital 85%
In a private hospital 0%
At a Birth Centre 4%
In your own home 8%
Other (please specify) 1%
Not stated 1%

 

3. Do you think anyone had honestly prepared you for giving birth, or not?
 
Answer Options Response Percent
Yes - antenatal group 23%
Yes - healthcare professionals 20%
Yes - own Mum 10%
Yes - family/friends 18%
Yes - internet site e.g. Mumsnet 20%
No - but they tried 26%
No - I didn't feel like anyone honestly tried to prepare me for birth 18%
Yes - other (please specify) 14%
Not stated 0%

 

4. In general terms where did you find the most useful / relevant
information and support during pregnancy and for labour?
Answer Options Response Percent
Ante-natal group 26%
Healthcare professionals (HCP) 23%
Own mum 10%
Friends/ family member 21%
Internet site eg Mumsnet 45%
Books 24%
Magazine 5%
Partner 2%
Other (please specify) 7%
Not stated 0%

 

5. Who - of the following - was most help to you during labour?
Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options Response Percent
Partner 49%
Your own mum 5%
Other relative (not mother) 1%
Doula 2%
Midwife 35%
Other Healthcare Professionals (HCP) 2%
Other (please specify) 5%
Not stated 1%

 

6. If your partner was your birth partner, were you happy with this decision or would you rather have had a different birth partner? If you didn't have a partner as your birth partner please skip this question.
Answer Options Response Percent
Yes - I was happy that my partner was my birth partner 87%
No - I would have preferred another family member/friend to be my birth partner 2%
No - I would have preferred a trained HCP as my birth partner 1%
No - I would have preferred a doula as my birth partner 2%
No - I would have preferred not to have had a birth partner 2%
I didn't have a birth partner at all 3%
Not stated 4%

 

7. To what extent would you agree with the following statements?
Answer Options Completely agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Completely disagree Don't know
Images and portrayals of women giving birth in TV and films are normally unrealistic. 729 620 154 103 23 33
There is too much focus in images and portrayals of women giving birth in TV and films on pain and procedures that can scare first time mums 280 493 351 387 130 21
I would like to see images, portrayals and stories of birth in the media bear more resemblance to real life as I currently feel they are somewhat unrealistic 474 652 325 144 32 35
Broadly speaking, I enjoyed giving birth 328 454 201 272 380 27
I felt that my voice and wishes were listened to whilst giving birth 484 564 202 243 139 30
I found it difficult to bond with my baby in the hours and/or days after s/he was born 104 201 93 234 942 88
Giving birth was the most physically painful experience of my life 749 315 127 226 197 48

 

7. To what extent would you agree with the following statements?
Answer Options Completely agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Completely disagree Don't know
Images and portrayals of women giving birth in TV and films are normally unrealistic. 44% 37% 9% 6% 1% 2%
There is too much focus in images and portrayals of women giving birth in TV and films on pain and procedures that can scare first time mums 17% 30% 21% 23% 8% 1%
I would like to see images, portrayals and stories of birth in the media bear more resemblance to real life as I currently feel they are somewhat unrealistic 29% 39% 20% 9% 2% 2%
Broadly speaking, I enjoyed giving birth 20% 27% 12% 16% 23% 2%
I felt that my voice and wishes were listened to whilst giving birth 29% 34% 12% 15% 8% 2%
I found it difficult to bond with my baby in the hours and/or days after s/he was born 6% 12% 6% 14% 57% 5%
Giving birth was the most physically painful experience of my life 45% 19% 8% 14% 12% 3%

 

8. Did you prepare a birth plan? If so, how, if at all, was it used during labour?
Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options   Response Percent
Yes - it was consulted during labour by a HCP and adhered to   18%
Yes - it was consulted during labour by a HCP but not completely adhered to   10%
Yes - but it soon became apparent that it wouldn't be relevant to my labour   22%
Yes - but it wasn't consulted at all during labour by a HCP   15%
No - I did not prepare a birth plan   32%
Don't know/Can't remember   3%

 

9. Did you think you would use pain relief during labour? And did you use pain relief during labour? Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options Response Percent
Yes - I thought I would use pain relief and I did use it during labour 48%
Yes - I thought I would use pain relief but I didn't use it during labour 13%
No - I didn't think I would use pain relief and I didn't use it during labour 10%
No - I didn't think I would use pain relief but I did use it during labour 7%
I didn't explicitly think I would or wouldn't use pain relief and I did use it during labour 15%
I didn't explicitly think I would or wouldn't use pain relief and I didn't use it during labour 6%
Don't know/Can't remember 2%

 

10. What proportion of the stuff in your hospital bag did you use?
Answer Options Response Percent xx
All of it 11% 191
Most of it 42% 706
About half of it 17% 288
Less than half of it 16% 264
None of it 2% 33
NA: I didn't pack / have a hospital bag 8% 131
Other (please specify) 2% 39
Not stated 1% 10

 

11. Roughly how many items did you have in your hospital bag?
Answer Options Response Percent
1 to 2 1%
3 to 4 2%
5 to 6 7%
7 to 8 14%
9 to 10 22%
10 to 11 12%
12 to 13 8%
14+ 25%
NA No bag 3%
Not stated 6%

 

13. How long did your labour last? (from first contractions to completion of third stage) Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options Response Percent
Less than 2 hours 9%
Between 2 and four hours 10%
Between four and 6 hours 12%
Between 6 and 12 hours 22%
Between 12 and 18 hours 10%
Between 18 and 24 hours 10%
Between 24 and 36 hours 11%
More than 36 hours 13%
Don't know/Can't remember 3%

 

14. Did your labour last longer or shorter than you expected?
Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options Response Percent
It lasted longer than I expected 34%
It was shorter than I expected 37%
It lasted roughly as long as I expected 21%
Don't know 7%

15. Was your experience of giving birth broadly better or worse than you expected? 
Answer Options Response Percent
Better than I expected 35%
No better or worse than I expected 31%
Worse than I expected 34%
Not stated 1%

 

16. Has the experience of giving birth impacted your decisions of any future births or labour?
Please tick all that apply.
Answer Options Response Percent
Yes - I would rule out having another child of my own 7%
Yes - I would think twice about having another child of my own 8%
Yes - I would insist on a c-section next time 10%
Yes - I would insist on more pain relief next time 5%
Yes - I would have less pain relief 2%
Yes - I would give in a different setting - home/ labour ward/ midwife lead unit 10%
Yes - I would have a different partner 2%
No, no impact 59%
Don't know 5%

 

17. Did you request any of the following procedures during birth? If so, did you have them?
Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options   Requested and received it Requested but denied it Requested but no time/ couldn't have it for other reason Not requested
An epidural   397 41 129 898
Elective c-section   28 35 23 1379
Gas & Air   1037 20 61 347
Meptazinol (Meptid)   19 6 4 1436
Pethidine and/or diamorphine   313 23 54 1075
Waterbirth   213 169 264 819
Ability to have an active labour (walk around/ deliver standing up)   509 173 200 583

 

17. Did you request any of the following procedures during birth? If so, did you have them?
Base: All those who didn't have a planned c-section (1465)
Answer Options Requested and received it Requested but denied it Requested but no time/ couldn't have it for other reason Not requested
An epidural 27% 3% 9% 61%
Elective c-section 2% 2% 2% 94%
Gas & Air 71% 1% 4% 24%
Meptazinol (Meptid) 1% 0% 0% 98%
Pethidine and/or diamorphine 21% 2% 4% 73%
Waterbirth 15% 12% 18% 56%
Ability to have an active labour (walk around/ deliver standing up) 35% 12% 14% 40%

 

18. What surprised you most about giving birth and the immediate time afterwards?
Please tick your top 3.
Answer Options Response Percent
Pain - more than I expected 34%
Pain - less than I expected 14%
Length of time - shorter than I expected 27%
Length of time - longer than I expected 23%
I didn't care about modesty as much as I expected 41%
Breastfeeding - easier than I expected 17%
Breastfeeding - harder than I expected 32%
I didn't know when labour had started 8%
I found it difficult to bond with my baby 8%
C section - better than I expected 14%
C section - worse than I expected 6%
Other (please specify) 18%
Not stated 1%

 

19. What piece of advice do you wish you would have been given before giving birth?    
Answer Options Response Percent
Follow your instinct 28%
Be prepared to change plans 21%
Use pain relief 7%
Don't worry about how you look 5%
Make your voice heard 21%
Other (please specify) 15%
Not stated 3%

 

20. In the 24 hours following the birth how many hours sleep did you get?
Answer Options Response Percent
Less than one hour 10%
1-2 hours 12%
2-3 hours 16%
3-4 hours 22%
4-6 hours 22%
6-8 hours 12%
8-10 hours 4%
10+ hours 2%
Not stated 1%

 

21. How far into pregnancy did you continue to have sex?
Answer Options Response Percent
1st month 5%
2nd month 2%
3rd month 4%
4th month 4%
5th month 4%
6th month 6%
7th month 6%
8th month 10%
9th month 19%
When I was overdue 13%
Don't know/can't remember 27%

 

22. How soon after pregnancy did you first have sex?
Answer Options Response Percent
Within the first fortnight after 2%
2-6 weeks after 16%
6-12 weeks after 32%
3-6 months after 24%
6-12 months after 13%
12-24 months after 3%
24+ months after 1%
Yet to have sex since giving birth 6%
Other (please specify) 2%
Not stated 1%

 

23. Overall, how caring did you find the NHS treatment you received?
Answer Options Response Percent
Very caring 33%
Quite caring 41%
Neither caring nor uncaring 11%
Quite uncaring 8%
Very uncaring 4%
Don't know/Can't remember 1%
NA: I didn't receive NHS treatment 1%

 

24. How old are you?
Answer Options Response Percent
18 to 24 3%
25 to 29 10%
30 to 34 28%
35 to 39 27%
40 to 44 20%
45 to 54 11%
55 or older 1%
I'd rather not say 0%

    

Last updated: 04-Aug-2014 at 9:34 AM