OBJECTIVE: To assess Filipino, Turkish and Vietnamese women's views about their care during the postnatal hospital stay. DESIGN: Interviews were conducted with recent mothers in the language of the women's choice, 6-9 months after birth, by three bilingual interviewers. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred and eighteen women born in the Philippines (107), Turkey (107) and Vietnam (104) who had migrated to Australia. SETTING: Women were recruited from the postnatal wards of three maternity teaching hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, and interviewed at home. FINDINGS: Overall satisfaction with care was low, and one in three women left hospital feeling that they required more support and assistance with both baby care and their own personal needs. The method of baby feeding varied between the groups, with women giving some insight into the reason for their choice. A significant minority wanted more help with feeding, irrespective of the method. The need for rest was a recurrent theme, with women stating that staff's attitudes to individual preferences, coupled with lack of assistance, made this difficult. The majority of comments women made regarding their postnatal stay focused on the attitude and behaviour of staff and about routine aspects of care. Issues related to culture and cultural practices were not of primary concern to women. CONCLUSION: Maternity services need to consider ways in which care can focus on the individual needs and preferences of women.