In order to measure mothers’ experience of their postnatal care, a questionnaire was administered to a sample of 36 mothers at three case sites. The mothers were asked a number of questions on how they felt at five key stages in the postnatal care pathway. The stages were:
the first few hours after birth;
on discharge from hospital;
the first night at home;
after the first visit of the community midwife;
on discharge from the community midwifery service.
The mothers were asked about their physical experiences, e.g. whether they felt tired, in pain or unwell; and their emotional and social circumstances, e.g. whether they felt confident, supported, and had enough help.
The results showed that mothers felt less pain and more confident as time progressed, and the levels of help and support they received remained roughly constant (relative to their needs). Second-time mothers tended to experience more pain but felt more confident than younger mothers.