Listening to Mothers

Childbirth Connection’s ongoing Listening to Mothers (sm) Initiative is devoted to understanding experiences and perspectives of childbearing women and using this knowledge to improve maternity care policy, practice, education, and research. Listening to Mothers surveys are central to this initiative. They enable us to compare actual experiences of childbearing women, newborns, and families with mothers’ values and preferences, as well as with evidence-based care, optimal outcomes, and protections granted by law. Identified gaps present opportunities to improve conditions during this crucial developmental period for about four million mothers and babies annually in the United States.

Listening to Mothers III: New Mothers Speak Out (2012-2013)

This report is a follow-up report to Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth. For Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth, 2400 mothers completed the survey online. All survey participants were 18 through 45 years, could participate in English, and had given birth to single babies in a U.S. hospital from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. Participants completed the initial online survey, averaging about 30 minutes in length, from October through December 2012.

Mothers who completed the initial survey were re-contacted and invited to complete a follow-up survey between January 29 and April 15, 2013. A total of 1072 mothers, or 45% of the initial participants, were reached and completed the survey. The present report focuses on the follow-up, particularly the women’s postpartum experiences and their values, preferences, and beliefs about maternity care and childbearing, with an appendix presenting selected additional pregnancy and childbirth results.

To read the full report, click here.

Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth (2012)

For Listening to Mothers III, 2400 mothers completed the survey online. All survey participants were 18 through 45 years, could participate in English, and had given birth to single babies in a U.S. hospital from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. The Listening to Mothers III survey questionnaires retained many core items that we measured in one or two previous surveys and have evolved in tandem with the U.S. health care environment, which has changed substantially since Listening to Mothers II. Many new and timely topics in the Listening to Mothers III surveys will be of interest to those with responsibility for childbearing women and newborns, including participants within the many maternity care quality improvement initiatives that have arisen.

Click here for the full report.

New Mothers Speak Out (2008)

This report presents results relating to women’s postpartum experiences from two national surveys carried out by Childbirth Connection, Listening to Mothers II and Listening to Mothers II Postpartum. These surveys continued the work of Childbirth Connection’s first national Listening to Mothers I survey, which was conducted and reported in 2002. The Listening to Mothers II survey took place from January 20 to February 21, 2006, among 1,573 respondents. Results of that survey are based on 1,373 self-completed online questionnaires and 200 telephone interviews. The same women were then contacted again to participate in a follow-up survey, Listening to Mothers II Postpartum, six months later, from July 20 to August 23, 2006. Of the original respondents, a total of 903 (57%) completed the postpartum survey (859 online and 44 by telephone). Data from both surveys were weighted to reflect the target population of women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2005 to a single baby, with the baby still living at the time of the survey, and who could respond to the survey in English.

Click here for the full report.

Listening to Mothers II (2006)

Listening to Mothers II (2006), a national survey of women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2005, continued to break new ground. In addition to continuing to document many core items measured in the first survey, the second survey also explored some topics in greater depth and some new and timely topics. We also recontacted mothers six months after they participated in Listening to Mothers II, and most responded to a follow-up survey that provided them with an opportunity to describe their postpartum experiences. This New Mothers Speak Out report focuses on postpartum experiences, as measured in both the Listening to Mothers II and Listening to Mothers II Postpartum surveys.

Click here for the full report.

Listening to Mothers I (2002)

The landmark Listening to Mothers I survey (2002) was the first time that women in the United States were surveyed at the national level about their maternity experiences. It offered an opportunity to understand many dimensions of the maternity experience that had not previously been measured nationally, and provided what are likely to be much more accurate figures for numerous items that are measured but have been shown to be undercounted in other national data sources. Listening to Mothers I results have been well received and widely cited. Most importantly, health plans, hospitals, professional organizations, advocacy groups and others have used the survey results to inform their efforts to improve maternity care and women’s satisfaction with their maternity experiences.

Click here for the full report.

Talks from Dr. Gene Declercq

Gene Declercq presented this presentation at the BMC Grand Rounds titled "What Lessons can be Learned from Listening to Mothers" on January 17, 2018. Download the presentation here.
What Lessons can be Learned from Listening to Mothers
BMC Grand Rounds (1/2018)
Gene Declercq presented this presentation to the Normal Birth Research Conference in Sydney, Australia on October 11, 2016. Download the PowerPoint or PDF presentation here.
What would a Maternity Care System Look Like if we Listened to Mothers?
Normal Birth Research Conference: Sydney, Australia (10/2016)

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