Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the satisfaction of women who underwent normal delivery and cesarean section (or C-section) with maternal care in five state-run hospitals in Northwestern Turkey. Design/methodology/approach This was a cross-sectional study. The sample consisted of 580 women who underwent normal delivery (ND) and 392 who had a C-section (CS). Data were collected using two maternal satisfaction questionnaires, which participants completed right before they were discharged. Findings More than half of ND (61.7%) and CS (56.9%) participants were satisfied with maternal care. ND participants who had received antenatal training were more satisfied with maternal care than CS participants who had not received antenatal training. Higher income was a significant predictor for reduced satisfaction with maternal care among CS participants (p = 0.031). Practical implications Hospital administrators and decision-makers should meet women's expectations, provide them with comfort, encourage them for skin-to-skin contact and respect their right to privacy in order to increase their satisfaction with maternal care. Pregnant women should also be encouraged to receive antenatal training offered by hospitals before delivery. Originality/value The evidence-based results of the study will help hospital administrators to improve healthcare quality and focus on increasing women's satisfaction with maternal care.