Background. When clients’ experiences with maternity care are measured for quality improvement, surveys are administered once, usually six weeks or more after childbirth. Most surveys conveniently cover pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care all in one. However, the validity of measuring the experiences during pregnancy (antenatal experiences) after childbirth is unknown. We explored the relation between the measurement of antenatal experiences late in pregnancy but prior to childbirth (‘test’or gold standard) and its retrospective measurement after childbirth (retrospective test). Additionally, we explored the role of modifying determinants that explained the gap between these two measurements. Methods and Findings. Client’s experiences were measured by the ReproQuestionnaire that consists of an antenatal and postnatal version, and covers the eight WHO Responsiveness domains. 462 clients responded to the antenatal and postnatal questionnaire, and additionally filled out the repeated survey on antenatal experiences after childbirth. First, we determined the association between the test and retrospective test using three scoring models: mean score, equal or above the median score and having a negative experience. The association was moderate for having any negative experience (absolute agreement = 68%), for the median (absolute agreement = 69%) and for the mean score (ICC = 0.59). Multiple linear and logistic regression analysis for all three scoring models revealed systematic modifiers. The gap between antenatal and postnatal measurement was (partly) associated with clients’ experiences during childbirth and postnatal care and by professional discontinuity during childbirth but unrelated to the perceived health outcome. Conclusions. The antenatal experiences should be measured before and not after childbirth, as the association between the antenatal experiences measured before and after childbirth is moderate.

Clients’ experiences, Maternity care, Quality improvement, Questionnaire development, Reliability,
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Scheerhagen, M, Birnie, E, Franx, A, van Stel, H.F, & Bonsel, G.J. (2018). Measuring clients’ experiences with antenatal care before or after childbirth: It matters. PeerJ, 2018(11). doi:10.7717/peerj.5851