New mother's opinions on prenatal education : how useful are prenatal classes in assisting first-time mothers through pregnancy, childbirth and the early postnatal period? / by Katarina A. Edwards.
Edwards, Katarina Anne
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether prenatal education programs are useful in assisting women in pregnancy, childbirth and the early postnatal period. A selfselected sample of seven women who had attended the Douglas College prenatal series were interviewed in their homes 2-3 weeks postnatal. Utilizing semi-structured interviews the participants were asked a series of six questions pertaining to the educational experience and subsequent birth event. The results were very positive as all women indicated that the prenatal classes were helpful in assisting them through pregnancy and childbirth. Women reported that the labour and childbirth preparation reduced their anxiety and fostered feelings of confidence in progressing through the labour and birth of their baby. There was consensus however, that more time should be dedicated to providing information and support regarding the early postnatal period, breastfeeding and basic infant care. The women cited feelings of vulnerability and lacking confidence in caring for themselves and their babies in the first weeks at home. It was unclear whether this was a consequence ofprogram content or if learner readiness played a role in acquisition of this knowledge. It was recommended that Douglas College continue to utilize the current curriculum with the addition of an extra class specifically dedicated to the issues pertaining to the early postnatal period. Implications for prenatal education and future research are provided.