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

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Abstract

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
JournalMIDWIFERY
Volume102
Issue number103116
Early online date5 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Keywords

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

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