INTRODUCTION: Respectful Maternity Care is important for achieving a positive labour and birth experience. Client-care provider interaction-specifically respect, communication, confidentiality and autonomy-is an important aspect of Respectful Maternity Care. The aim of this study was twofold: (1) to assess Dutch women's experience of respect, communication, confidentiality and autonomy during labour and birth and (2) to identify which client characteristics are associated with experiencing optimal respect, communication, confidentiality and autonomy.
METHODS: Pregnant women and women who recently gave birth in the Netherlands were recruited to fill out a validated web-based questionnaire (ReproQ). Mean scores per domain (scale 1-4) were calculated. Domains were dichotomised in non-optimal (score 1, 2,3) and optimal client-care provider interaction (score 4), and a multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed.
RESULTS: Of the 1367 recruited women, 804 respondents completed the questionnaire and 767 respondents completed enough questions to be included for analysis. Each domain had a mean score above 3.5. The domain confidentiality had the highest proportion of optimal scores (64.0%), followed by respect (53.3%), communication (45.1%) and autonomy (36.2%). In all four domains, women who gave birth at home with a community midwife had a higher proportion of optimal scores than women who gave birth in the hospital with a (resident) obstetrician or hospital-based midwife. Lower education level, being multiparous and giving birth spontaneously were also significantly associated with a higher proportion of optimal scores in (one of) the domains.
DISCUSSION: This study shows that on average women scored high on experienced client-care provider interaction in the domains respect, communication, confidentiality and autonomy. At the same time, client-care provider interaction in the Netherlands still fell short of being optimal for a large number of women, in particular regarding women's autonomy. These results show there is still room for improvement in client-care provider interaction during labour and birth.