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Keywords:

  • team midwifery;
  • midwife-woman relationship;
  • experiences and perceptions of care

The need to provide woman-centred maternity services which take account of womens’ views and specifically address their need for choice, control and continuity has been advocated and team midwifery has been suggested as one of the ways to achieve these objectives. This paper explores women’s descriptions of their maternity care experiences in England, specifically focusing on: their experiences of communication; being informed and making choices; being involved in the process of care; and their own perceptions of care. It is suggested that the midwife–woman relationship is an important aspect of satisfaction which needs greater recognition. Analysis of the data highlighted the importance of the quality of women’s relationships with caregivers. Findings revealed how positive relationships facilitated conditions which influenced satisfaction with care and suggest that, for the development of genuine woman-centred services where women exercise informed choice, and are involved in, and have some control over, the process of care, the nature and quality of the midwife-woman relationship must be accepted as an integral and crucial aspect of the service.