METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to 958 women attending the antenatal clinic at Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, to ascertain their choice of title during pregnancy Midwifery, nursing and medical staff (376 in total) were also invited to respond to a similar questionnaire. RESULTS: The response rate was 73.6% from the survey of all women who were overwhelmingly in favour of being called 'patient' as their first choice (34%), followed by 'other' (20%) and then 'mother' (19%). Virtually all women requesting 'other' wished to be called by their name. Women wishing to be called 'patient' for first choice did not significantly differ from the remainder of the study group in age, gestation, number of previous pregnancies, or number of children. When women from the Family Birth Centre (FBC) were analysed as a separate group, they had a clear preference to be called 'other' (unanimously, by their name) than the general antenatal population (odds ratio (OR) 5.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.1, 8.3; p < 0.0001). The staff survey, with a response rate of 84%, also demonstrated that 'patient' was the most popular first choice for patient title. Medical staff were significantly more likely to choose 'patient' (OR 4.2, 95% CI 2.3, 7.7; p < 0.0001), though the term 'patient' was the preferred choice of all staff.