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The importance of communication and involvementin decision-making: A study in Ireland exploring birthsatisfaction using the Birth Satisfaction Scale-Revised (BSS-R)

Doherty, Jean; Coughlan, Barbara; Lynch, Sophie; Sheehy, Lucille; Hollins Martin, Caroline; Martin, Colin; Brosnan, Mary; Cronin, Martina; Barry, Theresa; Calnan, Ann; Horton, Sally; Egan, Sharon; O'Brien, Denise


Jean Doherty

Barbara Coughlan

Sophie Lynch

Lucille Sheehy

Colin Martin

Mary Brosnan

Martina Cronin

Theresa Barry

Ann Calnan

Sally Horton

Sharon Egan

Denise O'Brien


Evaluation in healthcare services has become a priority, globally1. The Government of Ireland has highlighted the importance of stakeholder engagement to identify the needs of women in the design and delivery of high-quality health services, driven by necessity rather than financial ability2. The Birth Satisfaction Scale-Revised (BSS-R), an internationally validated tool, and recommended for measuring childbirth satisfaction by the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM)3; however, it has yet to be considered in the Irish context. The aim of the study was to explore birth satisfaction with a sample of new mothers in Ireland.

A mixed-methods study was conducted including a survey that involved collection of data from the BSS-R 10-item questionnaire from 307 mothers over an 8-week period in 2019, in one urban maternity hospital in Ireland. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Qualitative data from the free-text comments of the survey questions were analyzed using content analysis.

Overall, women reported positive relationships with their care providers and were satisfied with the communication and support they received, as well as high levels of control and choice. Postnatal care, however, was highlighted as being less satisfactory with staffing levels described as inadequate.

Understanding women’s birth experiences and what is important to them could facilitate midwives and other health professionals to improve the quality of their care and develop guidelines and policies that focus on women and their families’ needs. The vast majority of women rated their birthing experience as extremely positive. The main elements of care that contributed to a positive birthing experience for women were quality relationships with clinicians, choice and control, and emotional safety.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 24, 2023
Online Publication Date Jun 19, 2023
Publication Date 2023-06
Deposit Date Jun 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 20, 2023
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Keywords birth satisfaction, maternity care, BSS-R, birth, Ireland


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