BackgroundEgypt has achieved important reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality and experienced increases in the proportion of births attended by skilled professionals. However, substandard care has been highlighted as one of the avoidable causes behind persisting maternal deaths. This paper describes changes over time in the use of childbirth care in Egypt, focusing on location and sector of provision (public versus private) and the content of immediate postpartum care.MethodsWe used five Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Egypt between 1995 and 2014 to explore national and regional trends in childbirth care. To assess content of care in 2014, we calculated the caesarean section rate and the percentage of women delivering in a facility who reported receiving four components of immediate postpartum care for themselves and their newborn.ResultsBetween 1995 and 2014, the percentage of women delivering in health facilities increased from 35 to 87% and women delivering with a skilled birth attendant from 49 to 92%. The percentage of women delivering in a private facility nearly quadrupled from 16 to 63%. In 2010-2014, fewer than 2% of women delivering in public or private facilities received all four immediate postpartum care components measured.ConclusionsEgypt achieved large increases in the percentage of women delivering in facilities and with skilled birth attendants. However, most women and newborns did not receive essential elements of high quality immediate postpartum care. The large shift to private facilities may highlight failures of public providers to meet women's expectations. Additionally, the content (quality) of childbirth care needs to improve in both sectors. Immediate action is required to understand and address the drivers of poor quality, including insufficient resources, perverse incentives, poor compliance and enforcement of existing standards, and providers' behaviours moving between private and public sectors. Otherwise, Egypt risks undermining the benefits of high coverage because of substandard quality childbirth care.