Science

Women happier when babies delivered by midwives: Statscan survey

The majority of new Canadian mothers are happy with their labour and the birth of their child, suggests new data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada, though midwife deliveries are seen in a more positive light.

The majority of new Canadianmothers are happy with their labour and the birth of their child, suggests new data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada, though midwife deliveries are seen in a more positive light.

The Maternity Experiences Survey, a national snapshot of women's experiences during pregnancy, birth and early parenthood,shows that 54 per cent of Canadian women who gave birth during a three-month period in 2006 described the experience as "very positive." Twenty-six per centdescribed their delivery as "somewhat positive," and 20 per cent described it in neutral or negative terms.

The findings suggest women are happier withbirths overseen by midwives, with 71 per cent of womenwho had amidwife delivery rating it as "very positive." Only53 per cent of women who had their babies delivered by obstetricians/gynecologists, family doctors or nurses and nurse practitioners said they had a "very positive" experience.

Other findings included:

  • Sixty-five per cent of women surveyed said they were "very satisfied" with the compassion and understanding they received from their health-care providers.
  • Sixty-two per cent were very satisfied with the information they received from caregivers.
  • Fifty-seven per cent said that their pregnancies had been "somewhat stressful" or "very stressful." These stressors included moving to a new home, arguing with a partner, losing a family memberor financial problems.
  • Fifteen per cent of the women surveyed had been previously diagnosed with depression while 7 per cent had current symptoms of depression.

The Maternity Experiences Survey is an initiative of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System of the Public Health Agency of Canada and was developed and implemented in collaboration with Statistics Canada. It included the responses of 8,542 mothers, who were interviewed over the phone in the fall of 2006.

According to Alain Desroches, a spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, more in-depth analyses are ongoing and will be reported in two overview papers scheduled for publication in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada in March 2008, as well as in a Public Health Agency of Canada report in May 2008.

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