OBJECTIVE: To explore what “quality of care” means to childbearing women in Nigeria and Uganda, as a means of ensuring that women’s voices and opinions are prioritized when developing interventions to improve quality in maternity care provision. METHODS: Qualitative methods, with a purposive sample of women in Nigeria and Uganda. Participants were asked to define quality of care and to provide examples of when it was and was not provided. Thematic analysis was used to synthesize findings based on an a priori framework (the WHO quality of care framework). RESULTS: 132 in-depth interviews and 21 focus group discussions are included. Participants spontaneously discussed each of the WHO framework domains of quality of care. Data were richest across the domains of effective communication, respect and dignity, emotional support, competent and motivated human resources, and essential physical resources. Women believed that good quality of care ensured optimal psychological and physiological outcomes for the woman and her baby. Positive interpersonal relationships between women and health providers were important. These included supportive care, building rapport, and using positive and clear language. CONCLUSION: To provide good quality of care, maternity services should consider and act on the expectations and experiences of women and their families.