National Partnership for Women & Families

Listening to Mothers Reports and Surveys

Childbirth Connection's landmark national Listening to Mothers surveys capture the views of those who care most about maternity issues: mothers themselves.

The surveys cover the time from before pregnancy through the postpartum and infant periods, and shed light on women's attitudes, beliefs, preferences and knowledge on a broad range of topics, as well as their maternity care experiences and family and employment life. They report on many items that are not otherwise gathered at the national level. Survey results also reveal gaps between women's actual experiences and experiences they should have in light of their preferences, best maternity care practice and their legal rights. They thus point to opportunities for improvement and inform policy, practice, education and research.

Five national Listening to Mothers surveys have been conducted in partnership with Harris Interactive – three initial surveys and two follow-up surveys directed to initial participants, The survey reports and associated materials are available for free at the links below. Carrying out a series of surveys allows us to track core items over time and to include new priority items as our maternity and health care systems evolve.

The newest survey in this family, Listening to Mothers in California is under development.

Datasets from these surveys are freely available to interested researchers via the Odum Institute’s Dataverse at the University of North Carolina (search for Listening to Mothers). We encourage researchers to use and adapt items in our questionnaires. However, researchers who are not collaborating with our investigator team may not use our trademark, Listening to Mothers.

Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth (2013)

This report explores women's experiences from before pregnancy through the months after birth. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the survey polled 2,400 women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals from 2011 to 2012. Major survey findings show that a medically intensive experience continues to be the norm and that evidence-based practices are underutilized.

Listening to Mothers III: New Mothers Speak Out (2013)

This report follows up with 1,072 women who participated in the Pregnancy and Birth survey. Major survey findings show that women face many challenges after birth concerning their health, support systems and employment, and that their views of maternity care quality differ in some important ways from those of quality leaders.

Listening to Mothers II: New Mothers Speak Out (2008)

This report combines results from the Listening to Mothers II survey (see below) and Listening to Mothers II Postpartum follow-up survey, which reached most Listening to Mothers II participants six months later. It provides an eye-opening look at experiences of the lives of mothers with young children in the United States.

Listening to Mothers II (2006)

This survey was carried out in January and February 2006 in partnership with Lamaze International. It surveyed women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2005. The report provides an unparalleled understanding of the experience of childbearing in the United States at this time.

Listening to Mothers I (2002)

Listening to Mothers I was the first opportunity for women in the U.S. to describe at the national level their maternity experiences and assessment of those experiences. The results have given health professionals, policymakers and mothers a new level of understanding about many important matters and have been widely used to improve policy, practice, education and research.

Publications Using Listening to Mothers Survey Data

Data from Listening to Mothers surveys has been further analyzed by experts and academics over the years to identify evidence-practice gaps and make international comparisons. Click here for a full list of publications.

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