Listening to Mothers Reports and Surveys



Childbirth Connection's landmark national Listening to Mothers surveys are valuable resources for understanding and improving women's childbearing experiences. They focus the discussion on views of those who care most about maternity issues: mothers themselves. With almost 4 million births every year in the United States, the surveys describe a crucial period in the lives of a very large number of mothers, babies and families.

The surveys cover the time from planning pregnancy through the postpartum period, and shed light on women's attitudes, beliefs, preferences and knowledge, as well as maternity care practices and family and employment life. They report on many items that are not otherwise gathered at the national level. They also provide what are likely to be more accurate estimates for many items that are collected but are known to be undercounted on birth certificates and in hospital discharge records. Survey results also reveal the size of gaps between women's actual experiences and experiences they should have in light of their preferences, best maternity care practice and their legal rights.

Five national Listening to Mothers surveys have been conducted by Harris Interactive, and the reports are freely available here:

See Quick Links box, above, for all five survey reports. Learn more about the five reports and get related documents on other web pages in this section.

We invite pregnant women to read the reports to help understand maternity experiences, set goals and make plans and decisions. New and experienced mothers can use this national profile to put your own experiences in perspective.

Policy makers, administrators, clinicians, educators and others with responsibility for mothers and babies can use survey results to understand and improve the quality of maternity experiences.

We invite others - including leaders in health plans, hospitals, states and other countries - to use and adapt the survey questionnaires to understand and improve the experiences of specific populations. Please contact us for more information.


Inside Listening to Mothers:


Listening to Mothers III: New Mothers Speak Out Survey and Report (2013)


listening to mothers III NMSO report Listening to Mothers III: New Mothers Speak Out follows-up with 1072 of the women who had participated in the initial survey several months later. Major survey findings show that women face many challenges after birth concerning their health, support systems, and employment, and their views of maternity care quality differ in some important ways from those of quality leaders. 

Go to New Mothers Speak Out Survey and Report (2013) listening to mothers


Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth Survey and Report (2013)


Listening to Mothers III continues to explore 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 evidence-based practices are underutilized.

Go to Listening to Mothers III Survey and Report (2013) listening to mothers


New Mothers Speak Out Report (2008)

To build on the rich, extensive data collected in the national Listening to Mothers II survey (see below), we asked the same mothers to further describe their postpartum experiences in a follow-up survey six months later. The New Mothers Speak Out report combines data from both surveys and provides an eye-opening look at experiences of the lives of mothers with young children in the United States.

Go to New Mothers Speak Out Report (2008)


Listening to Mothers II Survey and Report (2006)


listening to mothers II survey Childbirth Connection's second national Listening to Mothers survey was carried out in January-February 2006 among women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2005, in partnership with Lamaze International. The main report from this survey was released in October 2006. The report provides an unparalleled understanding of the experience of childbearing in the United States at this time. The full report and numerous companion documents are available here without charge.

Go to Listening to Mothers II Survey and Report (2006) listening to mothers


Listening to Mothers I Survey and Report (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, policy makers and mothers themselves a new level of understanding about many important matters and have been widely used to improve policy, practice, education and research. You can find survey results, Childbirth Connection's recommendations, and the why, how, who and what of this survey here.

Go to Listening to Mothers I Survey and Report (2002) listening to mothers


Publications Using Listening to Mothers Survey Data

Since the release of the Listening to Mothers surveys and reports, a variety of publications have further analyzed the survey results, used the results to identify evidence-practice gaps and make international comparisons, and presented commentary based on the results. A list of these publications is provided in the link below.

Go to Publications Using Listening to Mothers Survey Data listening to mothers

Most recent page update: 6/12/2013


© 2014 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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