Objective: The objective of this analysis was to explore the healthcare-seeking behaviours and experiences of maternity care among women from different socio-economic groups in order to improve understanding of why socially disadvantaged women have poorer maternal health outcomes in the UK.
Design: Secondary analysis of a national survey of women conducted 3 months after they had given birth.
Sample: A total of 5332 women.
Methods: Logistic regression analysis to investigate differences in outcomes among different socio-economic groups, classified by the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
Main outcome measures: Healthcare-seeking behaviours, outcomes and experiences of maternity care.
Results: With each increase in IMD quintile (decrease in socio-economic position), women were shown to be 25% (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.63-0.90) less likely to have had any antenatal care and 15% (aOR 0.85; 95% CI 0.80-0.90) less likely to have had a routine postnatal check-up. They were 4% (aOR 1.04; 95% CI 0.99-1.10) more likely to have had an antenatal hospital admission, 7% (aOR 1.07; 95% CI 0.99-1.16) more likely to have been transferred during labour and 4% (aOR 1.04; 95% CI 0.99-1.09) more likely to have had a caesarean birth, although these results were not statistically significant. With decreasing socio-economic position women were more likely to report that they were not treated respectfully or spoken to in a way they could understand by doctors and midwives.
Conclusions: This analysis suggests the need for a focusing of professionals and services towards pregnant women from lower socio-economic groups and more targeted maternal public health education towards socially disadvantaged women.
Keywords: Index of multiple deprivation; UK; maternity care; socio-economic.
© 2014 The Authors. BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.