Women’s experiences of maternity service reconfiguration during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative investigation

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Objective: To explore women’s experiences of maternity service reconfiguration during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Design: Qualitative interview study.

Setting: South London, United Kingdom.

Participants: Women (N=23) who gave birth between March and August 2020 in one of the ten South London maternity hospitals.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted (N=23), via video-conferencing software. Transcribed interviews were analysed ‘by hand’ using Microsoft Word. Template analysis was selected to code, analyse, and interpret data, according to the findings of a recently-published national survey of maternity service reconfiguration across the UK in response to COVID-19.

Findings: Three main themes emerged through analysis: (i) Disruption to In-Person Care and Increased Virtual Care Provision, (ii) Changes to Labour and Birth Preferences and Plans, (iii) Advice for Navigating Maternity Services During a Pandemic.

Key Conclusions: Women reported mixed views on the reduction in scheduled in-person appointments. The increase in remote care, especially via telephone, was not well endorsed by women. Furthermore, women reported an under-reliance on healthcare professionals for support, rather turning to family.

Implications for Practice: We provide insight into the experiences of women who received antenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal care during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings should inform healthcare policy to build back better maternity care services after the pandemic. 
Original languageEnglish
Article number103116
Issue number103116
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Maternity Care
  • COVID-19
  • Service Delivery
  • Women's Experiences
  • Qualitative Research


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