Objective: To explore the aspects of a woman's childbirth experience which she perceived as being important.
Design: As part of a large randomised trial, which assessed the timing of intervention in prolonged labour, women's views were explored using a specifically-designed questionnaire. The questionnaire, which was administered on the second postnatal day, incorporated a rating scale followed by an open question. The responses to the open question are presented in this paper.
Setting: Regional teaching hospital in the north west of England.
Sample: 615 primigravid women received a copy of the questionnaire. Of the 519 women who returned the questionnaire, 412 women answered the relevant section, the findings of which are presented in this paper.
Analysis: The responses to the open-ended question were analysed by the generation of themes from the most frequently occurring responses.
Main findings: The main themes which emerged were support, information, intervention, decision making, control, pain relief and trial participation.
Key conclusions and implications for practice: Most women are able to identify important contributors to a positive intrapartum experience. Midwives have an important role in identifying these contributors and supporting women to fulfil their individual needs.