Content of antenatal care: Does it prepare women for birth?

Helga Gottfredsdottir*, Þóra Steingrímsdóttir, Amalía Björnsdóttir, Embla Ýr Gudmundsdóttir, Hildur Kristjánsdóttir, Embla Ýr Guðmundsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: clinical guidelines for antenatal care recommend informing women about birth. The aim of this study was to explore the content of antenatal care from women's perspective and to establish whether they consider information on birth to be sufficient. Method: the data was gathered in a longitudinal, cross-sectional cohort study known as The Childbirth and Health Study in Iceland. The study group consisted of 765 women attending antenatal care at 26 urban and rural health care centres in Iceland, during the year 2009-2010. They participated by replying to two questionnaires, at 16 gestational weeks and six months after birth. The questions covered objective and subjective aspects of antenatal care, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Results: the majority (87%) of the women want to be informed about birth in the antenatal phase of care, and 41% reported 5-6 months post partum that too little time had been spent on this issue, by health care professionals. Post partum, mode of delivery affected women's estimated time spent on information in pregnancy, with women who had planned caesarean section being most satisfied with the time spent on antenatal information about birth. Women who experienced their birth as difficult or very difficult were more likely to report that insufficient time had been spent on information than women who had experienced their birth as easy or very easy. Conclusions: antenatal care can play an important role in preparing women for birth. This study shows that information about birth provided during pregnancy is insufficient from women's perspective, although some groups of women do report being more satisfied with this information. The way that this segment of antenatal care is provided leaves room for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Childbirth & Health Study steering group (Olof Asta Olafsdottir and Johann Ag. Sigurdsson, together with two of the authors; HK, ThSt). The study received support from the Research Fund of the Icelandic College of Family Physicians , the Primary Health Care of the Capital Area, Iceland, Icelandic Midwifery Association Research Fund , and the Landspitali (Icelandic National Hospital) University Hospital Research Fund .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Other keywords

  • Antenatal care
  • Birth
  • Content of care
  • Guidelines
  • Information
  • Women's views
  • Meðganga
  • Mæðraskoðun
  • Fræðsla
  • MIW12
  • OAG12
  • Prenatal Care
  • Randomized Controlled Trial [Publication Type]
  • Prenatal Education


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