Women’s experiences of maternity care in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic: A follow-up systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis

Tisha Dasgupta, Gillian Horgan, Lili Peterson, Hiten Mistry, Emily Balls, Milly Wilson, Valerie Smith, Harriet Boulding, Kayleigh S. Sheen, Aricca Van Citters, Eugene C. Nelson, Emma Duncan, Peter von Dadelszen, The RESILIENT Study Group, Hannah Rayment-Jones, Sergio A. Silverio*, Laura Magee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Maternity care services in the United Kingdom have undergone drastic changes due to pandemic-related restrictions. Prior research has shown maternity care during the pandemic was negatively experienced by women and led to poor physical and mental health outcomes in pregnancy. A synthesis is required of published research on women's experiences of maternity care during the latter half of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aim: To update a previous systematic review of maternity care experiences during the pandemic to June 2021, exploring experiences of maternity care specifically within the United Kingdom and how they may have changed, in order to inform future maternity services. Methods: A systematic review of qualitative literature was conducted using comprehensive searches of five electronic databases and the Cochrane COVID Study Register, published between 1 June 2021 and 13 October 2022, and further updated to 30 September 2023. Thematic Synthesis was utilised for data synthesis. Findings: Of 21,860 records identified, 27 studies were identified for inclusion. Findings included 14 descriptive themes across the five core concepts: (1)Care-seeking and experience; (2)Virtual care; (3)Self-monitoring; (4)COVID-19 vaccination; (5)Ethical future of maternity care. Discussion: Our findings in the UK are consistent with those globally, and extend those of the previous systematic review, particularly about women's perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. Conclusion: Our findings suggest the following are important to women for future maternity care: personalisation and inclusiveness; clear and evidence-based communication to facilitate informed decision-making; and achieving balance between social commitments and time spent settling into motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101588
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number3
Early online date12 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Systematic Review
  • Qualitative Research
  • Women
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Postnatal
  • COVID-19
  • Maternity Care


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