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Keywords:

  • Child health services;
  • depression;
  • infant feeding;
  • maternal attitudes;
  • satisfaction

Abstract

Aim: To investigate women's experiences of child health clinic (CHC) care and risk factors for being dissatisfied. Experiences of specific aspects of care were further explored in subgroups of women who were not generally satisfied. Methods: All Swedish-speaking women admitted to any of the approximately 600 antenatal clinics in Sweden during 3 wk evenly spread over 1 y in 1999 and 2000 were invited to participate in the study. Altogether, 3113 women agreed to participate. Data were collected by questionnaires: in early pregnancy, 2 mo and 1 y postpartum, and from the Swedish Medical Birth Register. For the purpose of this study, data from the 2415 women who answered the question used as the principal outcome in this study, i.e. overall satisfaction with CHC care, were analysed. Results: Psychological factors, such as maternal depressive symptoms and worry about caring for the newborn, and serious infant feeding problems were predictors of less satisfied or mixed feelings about CHC care. About one in three women were dissatisfied with the attention paid to their own needs, and a similar proportion said information about vaccinations was insufficient. Of the four subgroups—mothers whose babies had feeding problems and mothers with depressive symptoms at 2 mo, 1 y, and on both occasions—the latter group was the least satisfied with the nurse and the time allocated to various issues.

Conclusions: Swedish mothers appear to be satisfied with the attention given to their infants at CHCs, but many feel that their own needs as new mothers are neglected. This study supports current development towards screening for maternal depression at CHCs.