Women are mostly positive about NHS maternity care in England, with levels of satisfaction either increasing or staying the same since 2015.
A survey of more than 18,000 women who gave birth in February 2017 found that 88% of women said they were always treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth.
Two thirds of women said they were always given the information they needed before returning home, compared to 58% in 2013.
The research, conducted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), also found that 42% of women were able to choose whether to give birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre, compared to 35% in 2013.
However, over two thirds of women were not given the choice of where to receive antenatal care.
Health visitors or midwives asked about the emotional wellbeing of 98% of women in postnatal care, but 57% of women felt they were “definitely” given enough information about emotional changes after giving birth.
“The survey identifies a number of encouraging data trends showing improvements in women’s experiences throughout pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, and it indicates a greater focus on women’s individual needs and choices”, said Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals.
“However, the scope for continued improvement remains, particularly in relation to women’s choices about their antenatal care and ensuring enough information is available to support women through any emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.”