Young women’s experiences as consumers of maternity care in Queensland

Redshaw, Maggie, Miller, Yvette D., & Hennegan, Julie (2014) Young women’s experiences as consumers of maternity care in Queensland. Birth, 41(1), pp. 56-63.

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Background: Young motherhood is commonly associated with vulnerabilities, stereotyping of young women’s behaviour and poor outcomes for them and their children. The objective was to understand how maternity care is experienced for this group in the transition to parenthood.

Methods: Data from a large-scale 2010 survey of women’s experience of maternity care were analysed using qualitative methods with open text responses.

Results: 7,193 women responded to the survey: 237 were aged 20 years or less. Most (83%) of these young women provided open text responses. The main themes were: ‘being a consumer’, ‘the quality of care’, ‘needing support’ and ‘pride in parenthood’ while subthemes included ‘being young’ and ‘how staff made me feel’, ‘testimonials for staff’, ‘not being left’ and ‘it’s all worthwhile’.

Conclusion: Many young women responding described a positive experience. For many first time mothers this marked a positive change in their identity. Nevertheless staff perceptions and attitudes affected how they saw themselves and what they took away from their experience of maternity care. A key message for other women supported and reinforced their role as active and involved consumers who, in engaging with services, have to stand up for themselves and make their needs and wishes known.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 64570
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Young mothers, maternity services, perceptions of care
DOI: 10.1111/birt.12084
ISSN: 0730-7659
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 17 Nov 2013 22:44
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 20:22

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