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The birth satisfaction scale

Caroline Hollins Martin (School of Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Valerie Fleming (School of Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 8 February 2011




The purpose of this paper is to develop a psychometric scale – the birth satisfaction scale (BSS) – for assessing women's birth perceptions.


Literature review and transcribed research‐based perceived birth satisfaction and dissatisfaction expression statements were converted into a scored questionnaire.


Three overarching themes were identified: service provision (home assessment, birth environment, support, relationships with health care professionals); personal attributes (ability to cope during labour, feeling in control, childbirth preparation, relationship with baby); and stress experienced during labour (distress, obstetric injuries, receiving sufficient medical care, obstetric intervention, pain, long labour and baby's health).

Research limitations/implications

Women construct their birth experience differently. Views are directed by personal beliefs, reactions, emotions and reflections, which alter in relation to mood, humour, disposition, frame of mind and company kept. Nevertheless, healthcare professionals can use BSS to assess women's birth satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Scores measure their service quality experiences.

Social implications

Scores provide a global measure of care that women perceived they received during labour.


Finding out more about what causes birth satisfaction and dissatisfaction helps maternity care professionals improve intra‐natal care standards and allocate resources effectively. An attempt has been made to capture birth satisfaction's generalised meaning and incorporate it into an evidence‐based measuring tool.



Hollins Martin, C. and Fleming, V. (2011), "The birth satisfaction scale", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 124-135.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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