Cross-sectional survey of antenatal education attendance among nulliparous pregnant women in Sydney, Australia

Published:August 17, 2022DOI:



      Antenatal education aims to provide expectant parents with strategies for dealing with pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood and may have the potential to reduce obstetric intervention and fear of childbirth. We aimed to investigate antenatal education attendance, reasons for and barriers to attending, and techniques taught and used to manage labour.


      Antenatal and postnatal surveys were conducted among nulliparous women with a singleton pregnancy at two maternity hospitals in Sydney, Australia in 2018. Classes were classified into psychoprophylaxis, birth and parenting, other, or no classes. Reasons for and barriers to attendance, demographic characteristics, and techniques taught and used in labour were compared by class type, using Pearson’s Chi Squared tests of independence.


      724 women were surveyed antenatally. The main reasons for attending classes were to better manage the birth (86 %), feel more secure in baby care (71 %) and as a parent (60 %); although this differed by class type. Reasons for not attending classes included being too busy (33 %) and cost (27 %). Epidural, breathing techniques, massage and nitrous oxide were the most common techniques taught. Women who attended psychoprophylaxis classes used a wider range of pain relief techniques in labour. Women found antenatal classes useful preparation for birth (94 %) and parenting (74 %). Women surveyed postnatally wanted more information on baby care/sleeping and breastfeeding.


      The majority of women found antenatal education useful and utilised techniques taught. Education providers should ensure breastfeeding and infant care information is provided, and barriers to attendance such as times and cost should be addressed.


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