Objectives. To investigate mothers' perspectives on the quality of postpartum care services in central Shanghai, China. Design. Semi-structured interviews. Setting. Two maternal and child health posts in two subdistricts in LW District, Central Shanghai, China. Study participants. Fifty postpartum mothers who attended the maternal and child health posts in the two subdistricts in LW District, Central Shanghai, China. Main outcome measures. Mothers' perceived quality and adequacy of postpartum services. Results. A majority of the mothers (90%; n = 45) were primiparas (first time mothers). Half did not consider the postpartum services to be of high quality. They defined high quality as 'full satisfaction of the mother and the child'. Their perception of quality was influenced by their concern about child care, an area in which they expressed the need for further improvement. Conclusion. Mothers indicated that to improve quality of services further, greater emphasis should be placed on: (1) health education on childcare; (2) more time allocation for discussion with health workers during their postpartum home visits so their questions and concerns could be addressed effectively; (3) access to health workers in times of need rather than during officially prescribed home visits; and (4) provision of continuous training for maternal and child health workers with respect to childcare. The findings will be relevant to health workers and policy makers involved in planning and implementation of maternal and child health services in similar urban settings in developing countries.