Background: Although policymakers have suggested that improving continuity of midwifery can increase women's satisfaction with care in childbirth, evidence based on randomized controlled trials is lacking. New models of care, such as birth centers and team midwife care, try to increase the continuity of care and caregiver. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a new team midwife care program in the standard clinic and hospital environment on satisfaction with antenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care in low-risk women in early pregnancy.
Methods: Women at Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, were randomly allocated to team midwife care (n = 495) or standard care (n = 505) at booking in early pregnancy. Doctors attended most women in standard care, and continuity of the caregiver was lacking. Satisfaction was measured by means of a postal questionnaire 2 months after the birth.
Results: Team midwife care was associated with increased satisfaction, and the differences between the groups were most noticeable for antenatal care, less noticeable for intrapartum care, and least noticeable for postpartum care. The study found no differences between team midwife care and standard care in medical interventions or in women's emotional well-being 2 months after the birth.
Conclusion: Conclusions about which components of team midwife care were most important to increased satisfaction with antenatal care were difficult to draw, but data suggest that satisfaction with intrapartum care was related to continuity of the caregiver.