Background: Increased preparedness for birth and complications is an essential part of antenatal care and has the potential to increase birth with a skilled attendant. We conducted a systematic review of studies to assess the effect of birth preparedness and complication readiness interventions on increasing birth with a skilled attendant.
Methods: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and grey literature were searched for studies from 2000 to 2012 using a broad range of search terms. Studies were included with diverse designs and intervention strategies that contained an element of birth preparedness and complication readiness. Data extracted included population, setting, study design, outcomes, intervention description, type of intervention strategy and funding sources. Quality of the studies was assessed. The studies varied in BP/CR interventions, design, use of control groups, data collection methods, and outcome measures. We therefore deemed meta-analysis was not appropriate and conducted a narrative synthesis of the findings.
Results: Thirty-three references encompassing 20 different intervention programmes were included, of which one programmatic element was birth preparedness and complication readiness. Implementation strategies were diverse and included facility-, community-, or home-based services. Thirteen studies resulted in an increase in birth with a skilled attendant or facility birth. The majority of authors reported an increase in knowledge on birth preparedness and complication readiness.
Conclusions: Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness interventions can increase knowledge of preparations for birth and complications; however this does not always correspond to an increase in the use of a skilled attendant at birth.