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What women want for the next birth: a content analysis on the wishes for future pregnancy in a national Australia survey (BESt)

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      Background

      Although women in Australia have access to a variety of models of care and birth locations there is not universal access to all choices due to location, State/Territory and cost. Recent data from AIHW found most women (40%) accessed public hospital maternity care that is fragmented in nature. Midwifery continuity of care has been found to reduce interventions in labour, reduce pre-term birth and increase women’s satisfaction however only 15% of women in Australia had care through midwifery group practice and 2% have private midwifery care. An essential aspect to evaluating the impact of maternity models of care is to consider the experiences and attitudes of women who access maternity care. In 2021 The Birth Experience Study (BESt) surveyed women who had birthed in Australia in the previous 5 years to explore a variety of factors contributing to pregnancy, birth and postnatal experiences, including what women would choose if they were to have another pregnancy.

      Aim

      To understand the wants and wishes of women when planning a future pregnancy and birth experience in Australia.

      Methods

      A qualitative content analysis was undertaken on 6,101 open text responses to the survey question “Would you do anything different if you were to have another baby”. The open-text quotes were analysed using an inductive content analysis where the categories developed from the dataset by a team of experienced and developing research members

      Findings

      There were seven main categories, five that focused on what women wanted for their next birth, one where women didn’t want another pregnancy and one where women didn’t wish to make any changes. The largest category ‘I want to be a better advocate for myself’ described how women internalised their previous experience, feeling the need to better advocate for themselves in future to receive the care or experience they deserved.
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