Oh, Baby! Mining The Maternity Survey Data Motherlode
As someone who is always looking for new data about conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum experience from a Canadian perspective, I’ve been awaiting the birth of the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey with great anticipation.
This survey -- and the motherlode of data that accompanies it -- will provide mothers and researchers with plenty of material for discussion and analysis for many years to come.
The Toronto Star made the survey its lead story in its print edition this morning -- an indication of the significance of the research. Based on interviews with 6421 Canadian moms, the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey is the first large-scale national maternity study to be conducted in this country.
The survey included more than 300 questions addressing such topics as socio-economic and demographic information; reproductive history; folic acid use; prenatal care; smoking, alcohol and street drug use; stress and support; physical and sexual abuse; information received about pregnancy, birth and postpartum issues; interventions during pregnancy, labour and delivery; postpartum health and care; postpartum depression; and infant feeding.
I expect to be writing about this body of data repeatedly -- both here at ParentCentral.ca, and as I finish updating my pregnancy and baby books. These notes are a few of my preliminary impressions as I begin to mine the motherlode of data.
Type of prenatal care provider
Family physician: 34.2%
Nurse/nurse practitioner: 0.6%
Most useful sources of information about pregnancy
Health care provider (32.2%)
Previous pregnancy (17.1%)
Folic acid supplementation
Almost a quarter (22.4%) of women did not know, prior to pregnancy, that taking folic acid before pregnancy could help prevent some birth defects.
Place of birth
Hospital or clinic 97.9%
Home birth: 1.2%
Birthing centre: 0.8%
Note: These statistics do not necessarily reflect what a woman would choose for herself, but rather what choice she made given the options that were available to her.
Please see this amazing roundup of comments over at PhD in Parenting ("Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey: My Answers & Your Answers"). Annie, thank you for taking this discussion over to your blog, getting your readers engaged in such a powerful way, and then letting me know what happened so that I could link to that discussion. How fabulous.
I will continue to blog about more data from the Maternity Experiences Survey during the days and weeks ahead, helping you to make sense of that motherlode of numbers. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below or to contact me @anndouglas