Effective antenatal education: strategies recommended by expectant and new parents

J Perinat Educ. Fall 2008;17(4):33-42. doi: 10.1624/105812408X364152.


Antenatal education is a crucial component of antenatal care, yet practice and research demonstrate that women and men now seek far more than the traditional approach of a birth and parenting program attended in the final weeks of pregnancy. Indeed, women and men participating in this study recommended a range of strategies to be provided during the childbearing year, comparable to a "menu in a restaurant." Their strategies included three program types: "Hearing Detail and Asking Questions," "Learning and Discussing," and "Sharing and Supporting Each Other." The characteristics of each type of program are identified in this article. The actual learning methods the study participants recommended to be incorporated into the programs were "Time to Catch Up and Focus," "Seeing and Hearing the Real Experience," "Practicing," and "Discovering."

Keywords: adult learners; antenatal education; childbirth education; expectant parents; pregnancy.