Academie Verloskunde Maastricht

Women’s attitudes, expectations and experiences of maternity care in the Netherlands

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There is growing pressure on moving the Dutch obstetric system towards a system of integrated care in which the woman has a central position.

Start date: 1 September 2016
End date: 1 September 2020

The advisory committee ‘Pregnancy and Child Birth’, appointed by the Minister of Health, presented a set of recommendations on the direction which the Dutch obstetric care system should evolve to.  They mentioned that it is necessary to "build modern and reliable care during pregnancy and childbirth", where "honesty, integrity, transparency, respect, shared responsibility and especially patient centeredness are key concepts". This research is inspired by the research of "Listening to Mothers" from the United States where every 4-6 years a survey is carried out on (expectant) mothers.

Several sources will be used to create surveys that are suited for obstetric care in the Netherlands. Prior to that, qualitative research is carried out using interviews, such as mirror meetings and focus groups among pregnant woman, woman who recently gave birth and their (obstetric) caregivers.


The purpose of StEM is to develop an instrument to understand the expectations, needs, experiences, choices and decisions of pregnant women and women who recently gave birth in the Netherlands, recording the perinatal and obstetric care in the Netherlands and to perform a structural analysis of determinants or factors that are associated with the childbirth experience.


The results of the StEM survey provide new input on "women-centered" policies based on knowledge, wishes and concerns of women and not "what we think is the best for you".
Such research may also be used to evaluate how women experience different models of integrated care. Using a sample of women who receive care in locations with different organizational models, we can judge their reactions and experiences with the different approaches to integrated care.
It also represents a new source of information on pregnant women and birth care that can add something to the PRN (Dutch Perinatal Data Registry) where essential additional data evaluation can be made available.